A permanent memorial will be created to pay tribute to London transport workers who tragically lost their lives to coronavirus.
Some 98 transport workers who helped to keep London moving during the pandemic have passed away due to Covid-19. TfL said the memorial will also honour taxi and private hire drivers who died due to the pandemic.
The memorial will be created on a pedestrian plaza on Braham Street in Aldgate.
Designs unveiled by Transport for London (TfL) reveal a space containing a plaque paying tribute to London’s transport workers as well as benches to allow quiet reflection and remembrance. A cherry blossom tree will also be planted, echoing the new public garden of blossom trees created in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to commemorate all Londoners who lost their lives to coronavirus.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, said: “I am devastated that 98 London transport workers have died from Covid, and each and every one of them will always be in my thoughts. As the son of a bus driver, this is deeply personal to me, and I can't help but think how it could have been my dad or his colleagues or friends.
“I hope that the new permanent memorial in the middle of our city will be a place where those that have lost loved ones will find solace, and be a reminder of the heroic key workers who have made it possible for us to come through the pandemic by keeping our city moving.”
Last week London's Transport Commissioner Andy Byford wrote to the families of those who worked on TfL services and had died of coronavirus to offer his personal condolences and to share the plans for the memorial.
Byford said: “I would like to express my sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of all transport workers across London who have sadly lost their lives to coronavirus. Their tragic loss is devastating for us all, we owe them our gratitude and this memorial will ensure that we never forget them.
“I also want to personally thank all front-line staff on our bus, Tube and rail services who kept our city moving through the dark period through which London has come, the maintenance teams who kept the network safe, the taxi and private hire drivers who helped people continue to attend hospital appointments during the pandemic and all the cleaners who ensured the network is clean and safe to use. Without you – the city could not have got through the pandemic.”
The memorial will be located in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Following feedback from the families of those who died, TfL aims to submit a planning application to Tower Hamlets Council for the memorial by early 2022. Subject to approvals, TfL aims to deliver the memorial as quickly as possible so it can be formally unveiled by summer 2022.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said: “TfL staff have been dedicated in keeping our city moving through the pandemic and we owe them a debt of gratitude for their service to Londoners. Very sadly a number of transport workers have passed away due to coronavirus, it's fitting that we remember them with this memorial and my sincere condolences go out to their families. Next week in Tower Hamlets we will also be holding a number of events to mark the pandemic and remember those who have lost their lives to this virus.”
The plans for the memorial will see the existing pedestrian space on Braham Street cleaned up and improved alongside the creation of the new memorial to allow for a quiet and well-maintained location for those wishing to pay their respects. The site will be located close to a number of public transport options (Aldgate Tube station and several bus routes) as well as Cycleway 2. There are also pay and display bays located nearby on Alie Street.
For more information about the memorial garden visit https://tfl.gov.uk/campaign/coronavirus
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