A memorial to those who lost their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic has been unveiled near Saffron Walden.

The pyramid-shaped black stone obelisk sits at the centre of a new Garden of Remembrance at Cam Valley Crematorium.

Saffron Walden Reporter: Alan Jose and medical referee Dr Martin Busk, both of Westerleigh Group, unveiling the Cam Valley Covid-19 memorialAlan Jose and medical referee Dr Martin Busk, both of Westerleigh Group, unveiling the Cam Valley Covid-19 memorial (Image: Suppled by Westerleigh Group)

Harlow artist Camilla Fitzjohn, 52, designed an etching for the obelisk which features a rainbow to highlight the work of the NHS surrounding a globe representing "the light of the world under darkness".

The design has been placed in 10 crematoria belonging to Westerleigh Group, which runs Cam Valley Crematorium, across East Anglia to provide a space for quiet reflection.

Camilla said: "It feels great and wonderful that something of my art will be looked at by people from the future, there is no prize bigger than that.

"I wanted to incorporate the rainbow because this has been used through the pandemic, and it is to recognise the doctors and nurses who are working so hard in such a difficult situation."

A study by Nature, a scientific journal, estimated that 20.5 million years of life have been lost worldwide due to premature death caused by the coronavirus in February 2021.

The number of people in the UK who died within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test surpassed 130,000 on August 1.

Roger Mclaughlan, Westerleigh Group's chief executive, said that he is "proud" of the public memorials.

He said: “So many communities have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Sadly, many families have lost loved ones, and our thoughts and sincere condolences go to them, first and foremost.

“We felt we needed to do something not only to remember those who passed away but also to honour others who did so many positive and selfless acts to support people and bring their communities closer together."

The memory of those who died from Covid-19 lives on at memorials throughout the country.

Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford features a Garden of Remembrance for "Our Heroes 2020" as a quiet place for reflection during the pandemic.

In London, the National Covid Memorial Wall is decorated with uniquely hand-painted hearts opposite the Houses of Parliament.