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Town council defers Covid memorial decision after 'small' consultation response

A decision on whether a coronavirus memorial should be built in Downham is on hold after just 11 residents responded to a public consultation.

The question of how the pandemic should be remembered has attracted calls for a commemoration scheme in Downham and Lynn, while a campaign for a national memorial is ongoing.

Town councillors who considered the issue at their annual meeting last night heard that opinions were almost evenly split among those who did express a view on the subject.

Downham Market Town Hall. (45992042)
Downham Market Town Hall. (45992042)

But Jenny Groom, who was elected as the town's new mayor during the meeting, said the response was "quite small" for a town of Downham's size and insufficient to base a decision upon.

She said: "My feeling is it's still very early days. I think it's something we ought to review further down the line."

Jackie Westrop, who became the town's deputy mayor during the session, said there had been significant hostility to the idea on social media when it was first put forward.

The elbow bump has replaced the hug or handshake as a Covid-safe greeting.
The elbow bump has replaced the hug or handshake as a Covid-safe greeting.

She said: "I think it's too soon and the issue is still probably very raw."

And John Doyle added: "It's too early. Covid isn't over yet."

The meeting was told that six responses had been opposed to the idea, while five were described as positive.

Mrs Groom said one of the respondents had written that they did not want to be reminded of the pandemic at all.

And Charlie Pyatt said it was "a pity" that more people had not taken part.

Outgoing town mayor Becky Hayes suggested the issue should be reviewed in the autumn, when it may be clearer whether similar projects are likely to be pursued at national or other levels.

But Elizabeth Hendry said suggested any commemoration should reflect the impact on society as a whole.

She said: "The people who have died are not the only people who have suffered."

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