Covid memorial gets £78k stamp of approval: Readers send in thousands of cheques – and heartfelt letters – to support national monument
- Letters from Mail readers have raised over £78,000 for Remember Me campaign
- Donations have ranged from £2 to £2,000 with over 2,200 touching messages
- Total of £1.4million has now been raised towards £2.3million needed
- It is for a tribute to remember Covid-19 victims in St Paul’s cathedral
They have arrived in their sackloads – thousands of heartfelt letters each containing cheques from Daily Mail readers sparing as much as they can to help create a national memorial to Covid victims.
With donations ranging from £2 to £2,000, more than 2,200 touching messages – including one from a 100-year-old who survived the virus – have flooded in.
While hundreds are still to be processed, the letters have so far raised more than £78,000 towards the Remember Me campaign for a lasting tribute at St Paul’s Cathedral.
The windfall means that – together with more than 4,500 online donations – generous Mail readers have now given more than £235,000 since the launch of the drive ten days ago.
Combined with several large pledges and the funds already collected by the cathedral itself, a total of £1.4million has now been raised towards the £2.3million needed for the lasting tribute.
Thousands of heartfelt letters each containing cheques from Daily Mail readers sparing as much as they can to help create a national memorial to Covid victims have arrived (Pictured:a pile of reader contributions)
St Paul’s director of development Nicky Wynne said her team had been left ‘humbled’ by the incredible response from readers.
They have spent more than 43 hours tirelessly processing more than 1,600 cheques – and are still working through a batch of another 620 which arrived yesterday.
She said: ‘The most moving aspect of being in the office when the Remember Me post arrives is reading the deeply heartfelt messages from the Daily Mail’s wonderful readers.
‘People sharing their deep-rooted support for our campaign to raise the funding needed to create this significant project whilst also sharing their stories of bereavement and isolation.’
Among them was a note from a 100-year-old reader who wrote: ‘A big thank you to the people who thought up this brilliant idea.
‘I had Covid but thanks to the hospital staff, I was one of the lucky ones to be able to return home even though I reached the age of 100 late last year.
Combined with several large pledges and the funds already collected by the cathedral itself, a total of £1.4million has now been raised towards the £2.3million needed for the lasting tribute in St Paul’s Cathedral
‘I was not able to celebrate then but plan to celebrate being 101 this year. Closing my letter by wishing you a huge success.’
Another was from a 94-year-old who apologised for her ‘wobbly writing’ and generously gave £25.
The woman said she would treasure her Remember Me candle – a limited edition gift given by the Mail as a thank you to those who donate at least £25.
Of the 5,000 bespoke candles available, 2,891 have already been claimed. The campaign has seen thousands of people donate to the cathedral’s Crowdfunder page raising more than £157,000 plus almost £25,000 in Gift Aid.
Many bereaved relatives are among those to give, including Edwina Stanton who wrote: ‘In memory of our dear father Morris Stanton who passed away aged 100 years on May 15th 2020.
‘RIP. Never forgotten by your daughters Pamela and Edwina.’
A 94-year-old, who apologised for her ‘wobbly writing’, generously gave £25 and said she would treasure her Remember Me candle – a limited edition gift given by the Mail as a thank you to those who donate at least £25 (pictured)
And Carole Sullivan said: ‘I love this idea because I lost my dear sister to Covid-19 in February 2021 and being able to visit the memorial will help me feel closer to her. Thank you to everyone involved.’ While Deborah Naylor, who lost both parents, said: ‘We lost our beautiful mum and dad within five days of each other in April 2020. Our hearts are broken.
‘This memorial will be forever to all that died.’
The donations follow generous pledges last week from entrepreneur Matt Moulding, Apprentice star Lord Sugar and philanthropists Sir Michael Hintze and Sir Tom Hunter.
The memorial will feature a magnificent new entrance and chapel with screens showing a virtual book of remembrance immortalising the names and pictures of those lost to the pandemic.
It is hoped the multi-faith tribute – which will feature a grand oak portico engraved with the words ‘Remember Me’ in different languages – will become a place of pilgrimage for generations to come. The Remember Me virtual Book of Memorial – which is open to all faiths – was launched in May last year and now bears the names and photos of more 8,700 victims.
Each person’s story is dealt with individually by moderators from the St Paul’s Remember Me team, who offer support to the bereaved as they complete their entry.
It is free to add a name to the book which is open to all nations in the UK and to all those who died, directly or indirectly, from Covid.
St Paul’s hopes the memorial – the first major addition to the cathedral in 150 years – will be completed in time for the second anniversary of the pandemic next March.
Faith leaders across the country along with Prince Charles and the Prime Minister have already given their heartfelt support for the tribute at the London landmark.
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