A fundraiser to create a memorial in St Paul’s Cathedral for those who have died in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached its £2.3m goal in under a month.
An online book of remembrance will be installed in a portico structure within the London cathedral.
St Paul’s set up the Remember Me project, an online book of remembrance for Covid-19 victims, in May 2020. More than 9,400 names have been added to the book so far, along with photographs and tributes.
On its fundraising page, the cathedral said that it “hopes to create a memorial that people can go through into a tranquil space, draw breath and take a moment to remember the many individuals, loved and cherished, who have died as a result of the pandemic”.
The memorial will take 12 months to construct, and will be the first of its kind in St Paul’s for over 150 years, St Paul’s said. The campaign was launched in partnership with the Daily Mail on 1 May.
The dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, the Very Reverend Dr David Ison, said: “All of us at St Paul’s are hugely grateful to everyone who has contributed towards setting up this memorial. Thank you for bringing the memory of those who have died because of the virus into St Paul’s, and enabling those who remember them to be welcomed.
“In the coming years the memorial will continue to touch people’s hearts and ensure we do not forget the loss, the pain and the courage we have seen through the pandemic.”
In a letter to the Guardian at the beginning of the year, Rev Ison said that “it is vital for those who grieve that we do not forget the individual names and lives of each person who has died”. He wrote that the memorial will act as “a tangible focus for grief in a place of prayer, and a permanent reminder of the human cost of the pandemic”.
More than 127,000 people have died with Covid-19 in the UK, according to government figures.