On 28 August, Creswell Crags will host an event to unveil a new bench, specially commissioned by the Community Unity Project, to remember relatives and friends who died during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Community Unity Project is a grassroots network, chaired by April Johnson, which has seen thousands of local people join a Facebook group since lockdown began in 2020. Members come from Creswell, Whitwell, Hodthorpe and the surrounding area.

The bench, created by Dan Hunter, has been paid for by community fundraising within the group. It will be placed in the Meadow at Creswell Crags, as a place to rest, reflect and remember.

April Johnson said: “It is safe to say that since the onset of the Covid pandemic, many lives have been turned upside down & 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 were formed in response to Covid and more recently the subgroup IAN was launched to provide support to those families & 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 & honour those whom we have lost to Covid, both from our own community and all other communities nationwide & worldwide.”

Creswell Crags is a popular and well-loved heritage site, which evokes happy family memories for many in the community. As a site 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.

Sun sets over a gorge, with the sky reflected in a mirror calm lake

Creswell Heritage Trust Development Officer, Louise Revill, said: “The team at Creswell Crags are honoured that the Community Unity Project 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. We are looking forward to the unveiling event on 28 August, and to the bench being a special place, with a special message, for all our visitors in the future.”

The bench will be unveiled in the Creswell Crags Meadow on Saturday 28 August, with the event running from 11.30 to 1.30pm. There will be drinks and ice creams and Creswell Brass Band will perform. Members of the public are invited to attend.

Press enquiries can be made to:

April Johnson, Community Unity Project: april.johnson1098s@gmail.com

Rebecca Morris-Buck, Engagement and Programmes Manager, Creswell Crags: rebecca.morris-buck@creswell-crags.org.uk (t: 01909 720378)