Covid: Gloucestershire woman pays tribute to mother lost to virus

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Image caption, Jane returned to the memorial wall to repaint a heart in memory of her mother, Patricia.

A Cirencester woman, who lost her mother to coronavirus, has made an emotional return to London's Covid memorial wall.

Jane Wier-Wierzbowska was prevented from seeing her mother in a Gloucestershire care home for 10 months, and fears her absence hastened her mother's death.

Thousands of hearts have been painted on the wall by bereaved relatives.

Mrs Wier-Wierzbowska first painted one in memory of her mother in April.

Image caption, Thousands of bereaved relatives have painted hearts on the memorial wall

Her mother had dementia, and Mrs Wier-Wierzbowska said the last time she held her hand was on 16 March 2020 before coronavirus restrictions made that impossible.

She said: "I just hate the thought that she was isolated from us for all that time.

"To not have the reassuring presence of someone that she knew and loved with her made it all the more difficult."

Image source, JANE WIER-WIERZBOWSKA
Image caption, Jane Wier-Wierzbowska was unable to have physical contact with her mother, Patricia, who was in a care home.

At the time Riki Moody, from the Gloucestershire Care Providers' Association, said: "We were - as the care providers - told in order to reduce the risk of Covid getting into care homes, we needed to close the doors.

"I don't think any of us would ever have planned this pandemic at all and we certainly wouldn't have wanted to withdraw that love and physical contact for individuals at all."

Image source, JANE WIER-WIERZBOWSKA
Image caption, Mrs Wier-Wierzbowska fears her absence caused her mother's rapid decline

Jane and her friend Nicola, who also lost her mother to Covid, travelled to the capital together to brighten up the hearts dedicated to their mums that had faded in recent months.

Mrs Wier-Wierzbowska said: "It's important for me to be here because it feels as though I'm doing something for my mum.

"Sadly this is all I can do for her now."

Image caption, Jane and her friend Nicola both lost their mothers to Covid

She is now campaigning for a judge-led public inquiry into the Government's care-home policy.

"We need lessons to be learnt now. There are deaths every day. We need lessons otherwise this wall will continue to grow."

Every Friday volunteers come to the wall to repaint the faded hearts for families who are unable to make it to London.

It is hoped the wall, near Westminster Bridge, will become a permanent memorial to those who died of the virus.

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