This afternoon, staff and volunteers across London Ambulance Service came together to remember colleagues who passed away in the last year.
At an event outside our headquarters building, chief executive Garrett Emmerson, our trust board chair Heather Lawrence OBE, deputy chief executive and chief operating officer Khadir Meer, and chief medical officer Dr Fenella Wrigley joined a small group of staff in our new memorial garden.
Garrett and Heather spoke of the immeasurable loss of our colleagues. A minute’s silence was then held.
This was also an opportunity, as a service, to reflect on what has been an extremely difficult year and to come together to support colleagues who have lost a loved one during the coronavirus pandemic.
Due to the coronavirus restrictions on large gatherings of people, the event took place with a limited number of attendees – but it was live-streamed to colleagues across the service to watch in between taking 999 and 111 calls, responding to calls, and carrying out other duties, and it was made available for staff and volunteers to watch back at a time of their choosing.
Sadly, 19 members of London Ambulance Service staff and contractors have passed away in 2020 and 2021, some with COVID-19.
The event was the first to be held in a newly refurbished area outside our headquarters building, in a new memorial garden which was completed in recent weeks.
The memorial garden was designed to be a space for our staff and volunteers to be able to reflect and to remember all the colleagues we have lost over the years.
A plaque in the garden reads: ‘There are special people in our lives who never leave us, even after they are gone.’
London Ambulance Service’s chief executive, Garrett Emmerson, said: ‘The last year has been extremely difficult for us all, with the coronavirus pandemic taking a terrible toll on London and on communities across the country.
‘This afternoon we came together to remember them and to think of their loved ones and all who have lost someone over the past year.
‘Our new memorial garden will provide our hard-working teams with a place for quiet reflection and to remember their late colleagues and friends for years to come.’