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150,000 Painted Hearts, Each for a Life Lost to Covid-19 in Britain


Ms. Rumball said she was planning to come every day this week, and on Wednesday focused on filling some hearts with the names of people who died of Covid-19.

Ms. Goodman, the group’s co-founder, said she wanted the memorial to become a place of gathering for bereaved families. The first anniversary of the death of her father, Stuart Goodman, is Friday, and this week she met for the first time the other co-founder of the group, Matt Fowler, who also lost his father last year. “We have been so isolated in our grief, that I feel like I have been grieving in a suspended reality,” Ms. Goodman said.

Bereaved families have called for increased bereavement support services and for a public inquiry into the government’s response.

Avril Maddrell, a professor of geography at the University of Reading in England, said the National Covid Memorial Wall filled a void left by the absence of public memorials.

“It makes a visual statement that 150,000 lives lost to Covid merit a public inquiry, and that this enormous loss of life can’t be swept under the carpet of a successful vaccination program,” said Ms. Maddrell, who has studied how people have paid tribute to those lost to Covid-19.

Mr. Johnson has promised a public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic, and opposition politicians have called for it to start as soon as lockdown restrictions are gradually lifted in coming weeks. But Mr. Johnson has refused to set a date.

At the memorial, several volunteers expressed anger at the government’s response to the pandemic. Ms. Rumball, who lost her grandmother, said she had felt ignored by Mr. Johnson’s government. Her mother painted hearts next to her in silence.



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