In a dedication ceremony at Springfield Green this week, 24 English oak trees were planted in memory of lives affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The avenue known as Springfield Oaks, consists of 24 English oaks symbolising the 24 wards of Chelmsford, native woodland and wildflower meadows.

The Mayor of Chelmsford, Councillor Jude Deakin attended the dedication ceremony alongside Deputy Lieutenant of Essex, Nick Alston DL, High Sheriff of Essex, Simon Brice, representatives from community groups, councillors, and Civic staff.

Reverend Julia Lacey from Church of Ascension with All Saints opened the ceremony with an inclusive prayer.

Springfield Oaks serves as a remembrance to everyone lost and all lives affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in Chelmsford, as well as the enormous efforts of key workers who risked their lives to keep us safe. It is an area for quiet reflection, but also a place where people can reconnect, meet each other and be amongst nature.

Councillor Rose Moore, Cabinet Member for Cleaner, Greener Chelmsford

I believe it is a really important step for us as a community to remember those who were lost and affected by the pandemic. But we do have some life springing up in this lovely park – we have beautiful bulbs planted here alongside the 24 oak trees representing our wards, so I hope you will return to see these lovely plants growing throughout the seasons.

Mayor of Chelmsford, Councillor Jude Deakin

We are so lucky to have such dedicated volunteers and charities, many of them worked throughout the pandemic. Our communities really rallied round to help each other during the pandemic and they’re still doing that today. Thank you to everyone single person in Chelmsford who have stepped up.

Lorraine Jarvis, Chief Officer of Chelmsford CVS

The oaks were also planted as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy scheme to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Chelmsford Cathedral will be organising a National Day of Reflection event on 23 March to remember lives lost to the pandemic. You can book a ticket on the Chelmsford Cathedral website.

By Charlotte Maltby

Charlotte writes stories about recycling and waste, parks, economic development, local democracy and planning.