Barnsley was one of the first towns in the country to commission a permanent COVID memorial sculpture. It stands in the heart of the town centre - in The Glass Works square. It was installed in November 2021.
The sculpture is a mark of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and honours those we've lost. It also pays tribute to our key workers, volunteers and local communities. It shows ordinary working people who are hugely under represented in sculptures across the world.
The sculpture is of seven figures cast in bronze. It shows that everyone was affected by COVID, with the figures including a:
- young girl
- older man
- police officer
Barnsley artist and sculptor Graham Ibbeson, along with Lockbund Sculpture Foundry, undertook the design and production.
Barnsley poet Ian McMillan was also involved. He wrote a powerful phrase which is engraved on the plinth. The words are: Barnsley’s fierce love holds you forever in its heart.
The sculpture marks the pandemic as a key point in our history. It represents the efforts of the council, key workers, volunteers and others to provide love, care and support.
Barnsley Council, along with the steering group who oversaw the project, felt it was important to have a memorial. This is to mark one of the most challenging times in our history.
The cost of the sculpture was £210,000. This was well within the overall budget of £450,000 set aside for the project.
The funding covered the cost of the memorial, its installation, and for other works relating to the project. This included things such as neon artworks, an engagement programme and landscaping.
Graham Ibbeson and Ian McMillan offered their services for free, by way of demonstrating their love and support to Barnsley.