COVID memorial leaves lasting legacy for Doncaster community

A COVID-19 rainbow memorial in the centre of Doncaster will leave a lasting legacy for the community as it reaches completion.

Standing at nearly 9 feet tall 18 feet wide, the ‘Hearts for Doncaster’ memorial is home to hundreds of coloured, individually engraved metal hearts.

Messages on the hearts range from condolences for lost loved ones during the pandemic to gratitude to dedicated NHS teams.

Sarah Dunning, Fundraising Manager for Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) Charity said: “We are so proud to have completed our vibrant memorial.

“This project hit a few hurdles along the way, but our charity team has continued to work tirelessly with our partners to reach this end point and I am so proud and thankful to everyone who has been involved.

“This honourable tribute reflects the losses and troubling times experienced by our community, but it also symbolises hope, strength, and togetherness.

“We would like to give our sincerest thanks to every single person who has purchased a heart, for your patience whilst we completed this project and for your valuable support.”

The structure, which contains 1,091 hearts, of which 669 are engraved, is located within the gardens of the Doncaster Archive Centre on Chequer Road.

When driving or walking past, the striking colours of the hearts and the impressive size of the structure draw many keen eyes to it, making it a distinct landmark in the area.

Established in March 2021, the Hearts for Doncaster Appeal endeavours to honour the local impact of the pandemic.

It provides an outlet for both current residents and future generations to contemplate the dedication, sacrifices, and losses experienced during the spread of COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021 throughout the borough.

The Doncaster community donated an incredible £14,000 towards individual hearts on the structure, funds which were reinvested into a range of amazing projects across Doncaster & Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals, as well as back into the memorial itself.

Councillor Nigel Ball, Cabinet Member for Public Health said: “My hope is that the ‘Hearts for Doncaster’ memorial will serve generations to come, as a place to remember and respect the people and stories engraved on to each individual heart.

“It also stands as a testament of the unwavering dedication shown by our NHS, care staff, communities, and all keyworkers during the covid-19 pandemic.”

The sculpture will ensure that the memories of loved ones endure by supporting the remarkable projects funded by the charity.

Appeals such as Hearts for Doncaster have enabled the charity to fund several wellbeing projects to support colleagues during, and after, the pandemic. These include a specialist therapy dog who visited staff and patients, complementary therapy sessions including Reiki, massage sessions and random acts of kindness to boost staff morale.

DBTH charity would like to thank all the partners who made this project possible, including British Ironworks Centre for designing this wonderful piece of artwork, Doncaster Council for providing a home for the sculpture and Happs Engraving who engraved all of the hearts ready to be fitted onto the sculpture.

Please note: as the Hearts for Doncaster memorial sits within the gardens of the City of Doncaster Archives, it observes the same opening times. Please visit the City of Doncaster Council website for up-to-date opening times for the Archives.