Coronavirus memorials to be built in Horsham, Crawley, Billingshurst and Hurstpierpoint

Horsham’s longest-established business has revealed plans for Covid memorials in the town, and in Billingshurst, Crawley and Hurstpierpoint.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 10:32 am

Freeman Brothers funeral directors announced today, March 23, they area are planning to build a permanent public memorial in Hills Cemetery, to commemorate those who have died during the coronavirus pandemic.

The firm will work with its sister company, J.Gumbrill Monumental Masons, and the team at Hills Cemetery, with approval from Horsham District Council, to create the memorial and reflection space

They also plan to build one in the churchyard of St Mary’s in Billingshurst.

Freeman Brothers staff are marking the national day of reflection - one year on from lockdown starting

Memorials are also set to be built in Crawley and Hurstpierpoint but the locations haven’t yet been confirmed.

Becky Hughes, community coordinator at the firm, said: “As funeral directors, we’ve witnessed first-hand the impact the last year has had, and we are keen to recognise and support those who have been in this situation.

“Whilst deaths directly due to COVID have been highlighted most, every death and funeral has been impacted by it, due to the changes in restrictions to funeral services and other associated ceremonies.

“As Horsham’s independent funeral director (and longest-established business), we have also supported the community through many tough situations throughout our history, and it is only thanks to the community’s support that we have also continued to operate.”

Once completed, the Horsham space will incorporate a flowerbed – to be planted with daffodils, in support of the National Day of Reflection – a bespoke stone, and a bench.

Becky added: “It’s just hopefully going to be a nice place for people to go.

“We want all visitors to be welcome – whether they have experienced a bereavement during this time; or perhaps they have helped in the national effort to combat the virus via their work; or it may be that they simply want to recognise that this has been a collectively challenging time, and pause to think.”

The funeral directors hopes to hold a service when restrictions allow, or on the second anniversary of lockdown.

The memorials will be cleaned and maintained by Freeman Brothers.