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Harleston-based Susan Whymark Funeral Service donates Covid memorial bench to St Mary’s Church, in Redenhall





A bench has been unveiled to honour some of the victims of the coronavirus pandemic.

The lasting memorial will sit alongside a cedar tree in the graveyard of St Mary’s Church, in Reddenhall.

The bench has been fully paid for by Harleston-based Susan Whymark Funeral Service, which was in the very thick of the pandemic as it claimed more than 300 lives in south Norfolk.

Funeral director Susan Whymark at the bench outside St Mary's Church in Redenhall. Picture: Mecha Morton.
Funeral director Susan Whymark at the bench outside St Mary's Church in Redenhall. Picture: Mecha Morton.

“It was heartbreaking for the families, the clergy, celebrants and anyone else involved in the meagre arrangements we were allowed to make,” said Mrs Whymark, reflecting on her work during the height of the pandemic.

“I know my team and I struggled personally with the restrictions and the impact they had on those who were bereaved.

“Making funeral arrangements via Zoom, the telephone, WhatsApp and any other method was both impersonal and insufficient for the level of care we usually give.

A cedar tree has also been planted outside the Church. Picture: Mecha Morton.
A cedar tree has also been planted outside the Church. Picture: Mecha Morton.

“Many of our clients are elderly and could not manage the technology, so a phone call was all we could do. Sometimes, they were hard of hearing or just understandably confused by what was happening.”

The memorial bench was unveiled last week and bears the message: “Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us every day, unseen, unheard but always near, still loved, still missed and very dear.”

Mrs Whymark said: “Our ethos is to serve and help to the best of our ability; to have that taken away was awful.

A message of remembrance is inscribed on the bench. Picture: Mecha Morton.
A message of remembrance is inscribed on the bench. Picture: Mecha Morton.

“We hope this memorial bench and the cedar tree bring some comfort to those affected in any way by the pandemic or just the acknowledgement that it matters that their loved one passed during such a stressful and upsetting time.”

It is not the first time the funeral service has chipped in to support bereaved families.

In July, it donated a wheel bier to St Mary’s Church, in High Road, to spare pallbearers from the struggle of carrying heavy coffins to the nearby cemetery.



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