Three new granite pillars, including one to commemorate the COVID-19 pandemic and its victims, will be engraved this week at the Milton Keynes Rose.
The new pillars were chosen by the pillar panel, chaired by Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, Lord-Lieutenant for Buckinghamshire. This panel meets every other year to decide a new pillar engraving from the submissions received from the community group. The panel is made up from; members of the local community, MK Cenotaph Trust, artist Gordon Young and The Parks Trust.
The three pillars that will be engraved this year are:
Volunteers’ Week (1 -7 June)
The inscription on this pillar will read: ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others - Mahatma Gandhi’
World Refugee Day (20 June)
The engraving will read: ‘People from around the world have helped build this city. Milton Keynes welcomes refugees’.
The third pillar to be engraved, is to commemorate the coronavirus pandemic and particularly those who have lost their lives in Milton Keynes. The pillar will provide a safe and comforting place for commemoration during this unsettling time, especially when other places can’t be visited.
The Cenotaph Trust, in discussion with The Parks Trust and Milton Keynes Council, want to create a focus for remembrance in the city. When it is safe to do so, and in line with any national commemorations that are likely to be arranged when the pandemic is over, a further inscription will be added to this pillar and a formal ceremony will be arranged.
Debbie Brock, Milton Keynes Cenotaph Trust Chairman, said: "We are pleased to be able to add further pillars because The Milton Keynes Rose tells an evolving story about our lives as a Community. We will celebrate the work of volunteers during Volunteer Week when their time, skills and care every day have never been more needed.
"We can demonstrate our welcome to refugees in our community on World Refugee Day commemorating the strength, courage and perseverance of refugees globally. The COVID-19 pillar gives people a place to contemplate what has happened during the pandemic and eventually when it is safe to do so we will support our partners to hold a Ceremony to commemorate and remember. We thank our partners The Parks Trust and Milton Keynes Council and The Community Foundation for their support."
Cllr Peter Marland, Leader of Milton Keynes Council, added: "I am grateful to the MK Cenotaph Trust for the quick consideration of a pillar dedicated to the COVID-19 emergency, and I have committed to MK Council funding that work. When the time is right, we will bring people together to properly dedicate the pillar at our remarkable MK Rose, holding an event to remember those who have died and thank all those who have served at such a tough time for the city."
Criteria for new pillar submissions can be seen on The Parks Trust website here.