Bereaved daughter launches memorial fundraiser for tragic victims of coronavirus

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A fundraising bid has been launched for a memorial to the victims of the coronavirus outbreak.

Lesley Meenaghan hopes to raise at least £500 to remember those who have died, including her mother Ann Milligan who died on Thursday, April 9.

As reported, grandmother and mum-of-five Ann, 78, of The Anchorage, in Gosport, tested positive for Covid-19 and contracted pneumonia. She died after being in Queen Alexandra Hospital for two weeks.

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Now Lesley, a former Gosport police sergeant, hopes to create a permanent memorial to all those who have died.

Ann Milligan, who has died from pneumonia and Covid-19, pictured with her daughter Lesley Meenaghan, who is warning people to stay at home. Picture: Lesley MeenaghanAnn Milligan, who has died from pneumonia and Covid-19, pictured with her daughter Lesley Meenaghan, who is warning people to stay at home. Picture: Lesley Meenaghan
Ann Milligan, who has died from pneumonia and Covid-19, pictured with her daughter Lesley Meenaghan, who is warning people to stay at home. Picture: Lesley Meenaghan | Other 3rd Party

She told The News: ‘I would like the memorial to be a place of peace and reflection in a central place, hopefully by Time Space on the esplanade.

‘It could perhaps include seating where friends and family can come together after this sad time - when we can hug and be close to the ones we love. Both alive and those passed.’

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As part of the fundraising, Lesley – who has implored people to follow lockdown rules – will eat a 5,000-calorie 2.2kg Lindt Easter rabbit on Sunday in 15 minutes.

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Lesley’s mother Ann leaves behind her children and husband Ron, 73, to whom she was married for 55 years. Ron is unwell and suspected to have the virus.

Councillor Mark Hook, Leader of Gosport Borough Council and and Gosport Conservatives, of which Lesley is a member, backed her call for a memorial.

He praised Lesley for ‘tremendous community spirit’ despite grieving for her mother.

Cllr Hook said: ‘I fully support it and part of the recovery process that we will be going through certainly on behalf of the community, we’ll be looking to put a church service on followed by what I would call a celebration of life.

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‘This is obviously very early in the thinking process. We don’t know when it’s going to happen or the timescales but we have to think about trying to get back to some form of normality, so we would look to do a service for all those who have tragically lost their lives to this horrible virus.’

A celebration service could be held at Time Space, and discussions on what type of memorial could be installed and where, are yet to be held.

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