A memorial woodland to mark the second anniversary of the UK's Covid-19 lockdown was opened this morning.

Coinciding with the National Day of Reflection today (March 23), Cllr John Mylod opened the tribute in Hornchurch Country Park.

Havering Council’s ceremony was attended by representatives of the council, voluntary sector and also families who have lost loved ones due to the virus.

Speeches were made by the mayor of Havering, Cllr John Mylod, Deputy Lieutenant of Havering Nick Bracken and Havering Council leader Damian White.

Romford Recorder: Cllr Mylod addresses crowds at the memorial openingCllr Mylod addresses crowds at the memorial opening (Image: Havering Council)

Cllr Mylod said: "Today was an opportunity for Havering to collectively reflect and remember all we have lost and endured.

“I hope this memorial woodland gives comfort to all of Havering for generations to come.”

It comes after planning permission for a 3.2-metre-high central memorial stone to go in the woodland, which will have 4,000 trees, was granted permission in February this year.

The woodland has been designed to feature four distinct areas, each aiming to support the natural biodiversity of the park.

In the south there will be a central memorial; this will be a contemplative place for quiet remembrance and reflection.

Romford Recorder: A visual of the what the memorial woodland in Hornchurch Country Park will look like once complete.A visual of the what the memorial woodland in Hornchurch Country Park will look like once complete. (Image: Havering Council)

Cllr White said: "This woodland will provide a space for remembrance and reflection for years to come, whilst serving as a reminder of Havering’s unwavering community spirit which helped us all get through the most difficult of times."

Romford Recorder: Cllr Damian White next to the Covid-19 memorialCllr Damian White next to the Covid-19 memorial (Image: Havering Council)

The memorial, which was sponsored by The Thames Trust, Marlborough Highways and CED Stone, forms part of a series of tree plantings in the borough.

At the start of the year a cherry tree was planted outside Queen’s Hospital in order to honour NHS staff and social care providers who have worked tirelessly through the pandemic.

It comes after a consultation held in September last year for the memorial in Hornchurch Country Park was backed by residents.