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St Paul’s Cathedral has started an online book of remembrance for the victims of coronavirus

The cathedral’s ‘Remember Me’ is open to all those who have died in the UK during the pandemic

Chris Waywell

St Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London will be the host for a unique online book of remembrance for the UK victims of Covid-19, as well a home to a new physical memorial to those who have died in the 2020 pandemic.

From today (Friday May 22), the family, friends or carers of those who have passed away can submit, free of charge, the name and photograph of a deceased person, plus a short message via the Remember Me website. ‘Remember Me’ is open to people of all faiths (or no faith), and the only condition for inclusion is that the person must have been living in the UK when they died. 

As ‘Remember Me’ is opened, the UK’s coronavirus-related death toll stands at just over 36,000 people, with many more expected. The timing of it seems significant, though. Amid thousands of care home deaths and ‘public health funerals’ (ie, those where the deceased has no friends or family to arrange them), there is a sense that to wait until the pandemic is ‘over’ would be too late to avoid many of the victims being forgotten. The fact that friends and carers can propose people for inclusion is also telling. 

HRH Prince Charles has lent his support to the project, saying, ‘This virtual book of remembrance is here to help us remember; not just to recall our loss and sorrow, but also to be thankful for everything good that those we have loved brought into our lives, and all that they have given to others.’ The choir of St Paul’s has recorded a specially commissioned anthem in honour of the project.  

The cathedral is a fitting location. Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece arose out of one disaster, the Great Fire of London, and stood throughout the bombing of London during WWII as a symbol of the capital and the country’s resilience and shared suffering. Now it sadly has a new, poignantly twenty-first-century, memorial.

You can submit people for inclusion in ‘Remember Me’ via its website from today, Fri May 22. It will remain open for submissions for as long as needed.

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