University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) NHS Foundation Trust has pledged to plant 72 trees in a year in honour of all the patients and colleagues who lost their lives to Covid-19 and to celebrate all those they were able to get home safe and well to their loved ones.
The 72 trees will eventually form part of the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA)s Virtual Forest, which aims to plant a tree for every resident in the West Midlands.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street at the UHB tree planting
To date more than 16,000 trees have been planted across the region.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street joined members of the community in accepting the offer to plant a tree in the early stages of the project, however his involvement became even more poignant when his mother Jacky was treated for and lost her battle to the virus at Heartlands Hospital in February 2021.
Speaking at the planting of the silver birch tree on Wednesday 10 March, he said: “It has been an absolute honour to come and plant this beautiful silver birch in the grounds here.
“This year especially has reminded us all how lucky we are to have you – the people who make the NHS the brilliant service that it is.
“The trees are a lovely way to mark such a significant year and to remember those we’ve lost to Covid-19.
“I’m amongst those having sadly lost my mum at this hospital a month ago, and as a former worker at Heartlands I know she would approve of the location as well as the choice of a silver birch.”
The virtual forest is part of the WMCA’s long-term commitment to the environment, #WM2041, which is the regional plan to be carbon neutral by 2041.
Since July 2020, trees have been planted across the Trust’s four hospital sites, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Solihull Hospital, with plans to plant all 72 trees by July 2021.
The Trust has begun reaching out to members of their local communities, relatives of staff members who died to Covid-19, and staff working at the Trust to plant the trees.
Trees will continue to be planted by staff, families and members of the community throughout the year.