We have just launched a new memorial ceremony to remember loved ones who have died in the last couple of years.

The free event, organised by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Leeds Hospitals Charity, is a way for people to remember family and friends, particularly those who died during the pandemic.

We're inviting people from local communities across Leeds to come together on Sunday 12th March at Kirkstall Abbey, to remember loved ones who have sadly died.  

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people were unable to say goodbye to their loved ones how they would have liked to, with hospital visitors limited and funerals taking place over Zoom.

61-year-old Gwen Hall, from Chapel Allerton, is attending the memorial to remember her beloved husband John.

Gwen and John were married for 33 years until John sadly died of cancer in February 2020, aged 66.

For Gwen, the Leeds Hospitals Memorial is an opportunity to pay tribute to her late husband and support her local NHS hospitals, she said:

“We feel fortunate that we were able to have a funeral for John just weeks before lockdown began. John died at home surrounded by family, we were his full-time carers for three weeks, but then when COVID restrictions began, everyone had to go home.

I had to grieve on my own and tried to keep myself busy with work and jobs around the house, but it was extremely difficult. This event is an opportunity for me to remember the incredible man John was and thank the hospital staff for everything they did for him.”

Helen Syme, Bereavement Nurse at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, provides practical advice and emotional support to people whose loved ones have died in hospital. Over the past two years, Helen has seen first-hand how families have struggled to grieve during the pandemic:

“When someone close dies it has a huge impact on someone’s life, but the coronavirus pandemic made things even harder for those who were unable to be by their relative or friend’s side and to say goodbye to them properly.

This ceremony gives people across our region an important opportunity to come together with other people; acknowledge what everyone has been through and remember those who are so dearly missed.”

The ceremony will include music, reflections from hospital staff, readings and a two-minute silence to remember those special people who are gone but not forgotten. Each person being remembered will have their name displayed on a screen during the ceremony.

Esther Wakeman, CEO of Leeds Hospitals Charity explains how the ceremony is inclusive to everyone who has experienced loss:

“We recognise that many people haven’t been able to say goodbye to their loved ones in the normal way over the last couple of years, so we hope that the Leeds Hospitals Memorial gives people an opportunity to come together and celebrate the lives of those closest to them.

Our ceremony is open to everyone from any faith or none, whether they attend in-person or virtually, from families whose loved ones have died, to NHS staff who have had to say goodbye to patients, or those whose colleagues have died during the pandemic. I hope it will bring some peace and give people space for reflection and remembrance.”


You can sign up to join the event virtually or in-person. Register to join us at the Leeds Hospitals Memorial below.

Get your free ticket here