The Health Secretary is the latest big name to back our crusade to honour healthcare workers who perished in the war on Covid with a memorial. The Daily Express is the proud backer of the sculpture, which is set to be unveiled next year. Our Memorial For NHS Heroes crusade aims to raise £250,000 to make the project a reality.
Mr Javid said: “Our health and care workers demonstrate the best of our nation.
“I’m in awe of the incredible people that work in health and care, and the dedication they show every day.
“It’s important we honour those who have sadly lost their lives in the fight against this virus.
“This memorial would be a fitting way to recognise the bravery of everyone in our health and care service, recognising the names of the people who’ve given so much.
“I know it will mean so much to the families and friends of those who we’ve lost and all the people across the country who cherish the amazing people who work in health and care.
“I’d like to thank the Daily Express and everyone who’s supported this campaign.
“Thanks to your efforts, the exceptional contribution of our health workers will be immortalised forever, after one of the toughest times this nation has ever faced.”
Mr Javid received a first shot of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine in March and a second dose in May. But in July, less than a month after taking on his latest Cabinet post, he confirmed he had been struck down with the virus.
Figures show at least 1,561 health and social care staff have died in the 18-month fight.
Our 20ft bronze sculpture — as yet unnamed — will immortalise every one of them and proudly carry their names.
Their memory will be remembered with the inscription: “You laid your love for those in life. Your sleep is not in vain.”
The sculpture has been given the working title Breath and will feature two intertwined trees with hundreds of leaves, each individually hand-sculpted.
The 400kg memorial will have roots tumbling down over bronze rocks in a poignant representation of eternal life.
The memorial is being made by sculptress Nicola Ravenscroft and will proudly stand at a central London location yet to be decided.
Equally significant sculptures will also be unveiled in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in acknowledgement of the nationwide fight against the deadly virus.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I want to thank the Daily Express for their campaign championing our fantastic health service, which has done so much for all of us, particularly during these challenging times.
“We know communities will want to find ways of commemorating what we have all been through and these sculptures will mark the incredible work NHS and care workers have done and continue to do every day.”
NHS England boss Amanda Pritchard said: “Each of my NHS colleagues who sadly died leaves an irreplaceable gap in a family and a workplace, and I want them to be remembered.
“I want them to be remembered for their unwavering dedication and compassion during the very hardest of times.”