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Council to put up 5.2 metre 'beacon of hope' in park to commemorate residents during coronavirus pandemic




Diss Town Council has announced plans to recognise and commemorate the ongoing impact of the pandemic by placing a beacon in the town’s park.

The authority confirmed on Friday that it intends to install a 5.2 metre ‘beacon of hope, light and remembrance’, while also introducing two new walking trails, referred to as ‘lockdown loops’, in the park.

The beacon is expected to be in place by the turn of the year, while the walking routes are expected be ready for use by spring 2021.

Diss Town Mayor Sonia Browne (right) and designer Andrew Rackham, stood where the the spotwhere the the council plan to erect the beacon.
Diss Town Mayor Sonia Browne (right) and designer Andrew Rackham, stood where the the spotwhere the the council plan to erect the beacon.

Diss mayor Sonia Browne said the plans will commemorate not only people who have lost their lives to the virus, but also acknowledge the response and community spirit of residents in the town.

She said: “We thought it was important to mark this historical time.

“To remember those adversely affected by the virus, but also to remember the community spirit and generosity of our residents.

“There have been so many examples of kindness, communication and the community working together.

“And, while I know many people may be feeling tired or weathered, we must all try to continue to do our bit to help each other.”

With funding direct from the town council, the beacon of hope will be installed at the highest point in the park to ensure maximum visibility across the town, and will form the start and finish of the new walking routes.

Cllr Browne said: “We chose a beacon because, as well as being a powerful symbol of light and hope that would resonate with all of our communities, it’s also a very prominent feature that people will see when they’re out and about in town.”

Council leader Simon Olander added: “This beacon will be a permanent structure in the park, with one of the town’s most important assets, our Mere, providing a backdrop.

“I would like it to become a special place for local residents and our wider community to consider the impact of Covid-19 on our lives.

“This challenging period has brought about positive changes, such as increases in family time and regular exercise, a reduction in our carbon footprint and community cohesion.

“I would also like to see the beacon being used to commemorate future key events, potentially district-wide, and its park location lends itself well for this.”

Starting and ending at the beacon, the two new walking routes will be created around the town, with the shorter 1km trail to be fully accessible to people with pushchairs, wheelchairs, mobility scooters and dogs.

“Covid continues to challenge all corners of society, particularly during periods of lockdown when lifestyles rapidly and dramatically change,” said Charlotte Valori, a member of the working party – a group of residents working alongside the council.

“Exercise has become a lifeline to many of our residents, helping both with physical health and mental wellbeing.

“By creating the lockdown loops around the town, we can promote the importance of keeping active and living a healthier lifestyle, while providing a fitting legacy of this challenging time for future generations,” she added.



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