Barnsley covid sculpture unveiled as town's leaders say it will act as memorial to over 900 dead

A permanant memorial to key-workers and victims of coronavirus has been unveiled in Barnsley.

The sculpture, named Reverence, features seven figures cast in bronze, including a young girl, older man, volunteer, nurse, carer, police officer and a teacher, to represent those affected by the pandemic.

The memorial is by Graham Ibbeson, whose work in Barnsley also includes the Billy Casper statue outside the Alhambra Centre, and the Dickie Bird statue on Church Lane.

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It is one of the first memorials of its kind in the UK.

The sculpture, named Reverence, features seven figures cast in bronze, including a young girl, older man, volunteer, nurse, carer, police officer and a teacher, to represent those affected by the pandemic. Photo: Simon Hulme

The sculpture was unveiled during a ceremony at Glass Works square yesterday, attended by Lord Lieutenant Professor Dame Hilary Chapman, former Archbishop of York John Sentamu, mayor Councillor Caroline Makinson, Barnsley Council leader Sir Steve Houghton and MPs Stephanie Peacock and Dan Jarvis.

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Speaking at the unveiling, Sir Steve said: “Today is a special day in Barnsley’s history.

“We come together to remember the loved ones we lost to the pandemic and to thank those who stood in harm’s way to keep us safe.

“Well over 900 people in Barnsley have lost their lived to the virus, leaving thousands of bereaved relatives and families to grieve them.

HM Lord Lieutenant Professor Dame Hilary Chapman said: “We’ve all seen the world wide effects of the covid pandemic, but the impact on our town and our people has been both profound and devastating.

“We have seen many, too many, people die.”

She continued: “Today is about remembering those people who have been and continue to be affected, but it’s also about recognising the tireless and sustained efforts that many ordinary people, who have worked and volunteered throughout the pandemic, serving our community.”