Covid memorial sculpture unveiled in Barnsley

  • Published
Reverence sculpture in Barnsley
Image caption,
Reverence, a bronze by sculptor Graham Ibbeson, depicts key workers alongside ordinary people affected by the pandemic

A permanent memorial to those who have died with Covid-19 and the unsung workers of the pandemic has been unveiled in Barnsley.

Reverence, by sculptor Graham Ibbeson and engraved with poetry by Ian McMillan, was revealed in the town's new Glass Work's square.

The bronze depicts key workers alongside ordinary people affected by the pandemic.

Though the project cost £210,000, Ibbeson and McMillan worked for free.

Image caption,
The sculpture depicts those affected by the pandemic
Image source, Graham Ibbeson
Image caption,
The bronze sculpture portrays ordinary people whose lives have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic

Ordinary people such as volunteers, ambulance drivers and shopkeepers are depicted.

Poet Ian McMillan, known as the Barnsley Bard, wrote the words engraved on the plinth: "Barnsley's fierce love will hold you forever in its heart".

Image source, Barnsley Council
Image caption,
Ian McMillan's words on the sculpture's plinth were beamed in neon from Barnsley central library for Valentine's Day in February

Key workers and bereaved families attended the ceremony, led by former Archbishop of York Lord Sentamu and the Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, Prof Dame Hilary Chapman DBE.

Image source, Barnsley Council
Image caption,
The bronze, by Barnsley sculptor Graham Ibbeson, was cast at a foundry in Oxfordshire

By the end of October, figures showed more than 900 people in Barnsley had died with Covid-19.

Barnsley Council leader Sir Steve Houghton said the pandemic continued to affect everyone and urged people in the town to attend the opening ceremony and "reflect on those we've lost and those who work so tirelessly in our communities".

Ibbeson also created the Women of Steel sculpture in Sheffield city centre, and a bronze depicting the main character from 1960s classic Kes, which was written by Barry Hines from Barnsley.

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