Bench unveiled at Creswell Crags to remember those lost during Covid-19 pandemic

A bench to remember people who have died during the coronavirus pandemic has been officially unveiled at a Derbyshire visitor attraction.

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 3:01 pm

The bench has been installed in the meadow area at Creswell Crags, serving as a place to rest, reflect and think about those who have passed away in the crisis.

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Created by Dan Hunter, the bench has been paid for by fundraising within the Community Unity Project (CUP), a grassroots network chaired by April Johnson.

Nicola Mousley - whose husband Ian died from coronavirus - at the memorial bench at Creswell Crags. Pictures by Jason Chadwick.

April said: “It is safe to say that since the onset of the Covid pandemic, many lives have been turned upside down and inside out – the most devastating of events being the loss of so many loved ones to this awful virus.

“CUP could never let the lasting effects of this devastation go unnoticed.

“After all, CUP was formed in response to Covid and more recently the subgroup IAN was launched to provide support to those families and friends directly affected by the loss of a loved one.

“We have been working very hard behind the scenes for a number of months to ensure that we officially recognise, remember and honour those whom we have lost to Covid, both from our own community and all other communities nationwide and worldwide.”

Nicola remembers Ian as 'the loveliest person'.

Much-loved Ian Mousley, of Creswell, lost his life to the virus at Chesterfield Royal Hospital in March.

The 51-year-old’s widow, Nicola Mousley, said the bench ‘means so much’.

“Losing Ian to Covid has been devastating and has impacted on our lives in a massive way,” she added.

“To now have somewhere to go and reflect and remember him while in a serene setting is wonderful.

Nicola and family of her late husband Ian on the new seat. Community Unity Project's Zara Skidmore, April Johnson and Elaine Streets are are holding the sheet at the back.

“It is somewhere that anyone can go and sit and relax.

“It could not have been made possible without the CUP and IAN groups and, of course, the local community.

“There isn't anywhere else locally in memory of those lost to Covid so it is so very special.

“We will be eternally grateful to all involved.

"We will not let our loved ones be forgotten.”

The bench was officially unveiled on Saturday.

Creswell Crags is a popular heritage site, which evokes happy family memories for many in the community.

As a location with Ice Age cave art going back 13,000 years, it is also a place where the long human story is brought into focus, and different moments in time are captured.

As such, the new bench is a fitting addition to the story of the site.

Louise Revill, Creswell Heritage Trust development officer, said: “The team at Creswell Crags are honoured that CUP asked to place the bench in our meadow.

“We know that during the lockdown our peaceful gorge was a source of solace for many local people and, now it is busy with visitors again, it evokes memories of family days out and time spent with loved ones.

“The bench will be a special place for all our visitors in the future.”