Nearly 150,000 hearts are being hand-drawn onto a wall near parliament to represent all the victims of the UK’s Covid outbreak.
Volunteers have been painting the memorial since Monday and it’s expected to stretch for more than a kilometre once complete.
Campaign group Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice – who organised the memorial – said it’s not intended to be political but provide a visual representation of all the lives lost.
The UK has recorded 126,615 deaths since the start of the pandemic using the Government’s official method of only counting deaths within 28 days of a positive test result.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics, which are based on mentions of Covid-19 on death certificates, show there were 150,116 deaths by March 19.
Families of the deceased are among those helping to paint the hearts and are working in socially distanced groups of no more than six, in line with the updated coronavirus restrictions.
Matt Fowler, 33, who lost his 56-year-old father Ian to the virus, said: ‘Each heart is individually hand-painted (and) utterly unique, just like the loved ones we’ve lost.
‘And like the scale of our collective loss, this memorial is going to be enormous.’
Organisers estimate it will take several days to draw all the hearts and hope the Government will eventually back plans to create a more permanent memorial.
The didn’t seek permission from Lambeth Council and have offered to clean up the wall if asked to do so.
Mr Fowler added: ‘We know not everyone can come down here to see it, but we really hope this can become a focal point for remembering this national tragedy.
‘The objective of this here today is to memorialise and to memorialise with dignity.
‘It’s not just about me remembering my dad, although of course I am – the first heart I drew on the wall this morning was for him.
‘Everyone that died was a real person with a family and friends that miss them and are trying to deal with their grief and their loss.’
During his visit to the site on Monday afternoon, Sir Keir said the memorial was ‘remarkable’
He added: ‘It’s very moving and emotional to hear first-hand from those who have lost someone and what it means to them.
‘You can see the emotion in them having to tell us again what I know they’ve told many, many times.
‘The hardest bit of our job is… talking to the families about the experience they have been through.’
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