Senior nurse plants tree alongside Health Secretary to commemorate those who died during the pandemic

Over 1,000 health and social care workers are widely believed to have died since March 2020, although exact figures still remains to be known. 

James McKay
7 June 2021
Sam-Foster-and-Matt-Hancock

In Japan, the trees themselves are said to act as a metaphor for the finite nature of life.

A senior nurse and the Health Secretary have planted a cherry blossom tree to commemorate those who died during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Sam Foster, Chief Nursing Officer at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, planted one of ten Japanese cherry (Sakura) blossom trees in Oxford Botanic Gardens ahead of the G7 summit.

In Japan, the trees themselves are said to act as a metaphor for the finite nature of life.

As one of the oldest botanic gardens in the world, the Oxford Botanic Garden began as a physic garden – where healing herbs and plants are grown – in which medical students from Oxford University were taught how to identify medicinal plants in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Over 1,000 health and social care workers are widely believed to have died since March 2020, although exact figures still remain to be known.

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A dedication.

Sam Foster, Chief Nursing Officer at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, administered the first Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to a patient outside of clinical trials, on January 4th.

She said: “It is a great honour to be asked to plant a tree to remember all the dedicated nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals who have cared for people with COVID-19 – including those who have lost their lives during the pandemic.

“We must never forget the contribution which every member of health and care staff has made during this time of unprecedented challenges for the NHS and globally.”

Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, added: “As I work with my G7 colleagues to better prepare us all for future health threats, we must never forget the sorrow and heartbreak felt across the UK and around the world as a result of COVID-19.

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“Oxford has played a central role in showing us the road out of the pandemic and their Botanic Gardens now have a fitting tribute for people to be able to reflect and remember those that have been lost.”

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