Kettering mason volunteers to create lasting Covid memorial

Michael Maynard lost his dad to coronavirus and wants to create a lasting tribute

By Alison Bagley
Wednesday, 16th December 2020, 9:16 am

A Kettering mason has volunteered his firm's services to produce a memorial stone for the town to mark the Covid pandemic - to honour those lost to the virus and those who helped them.

Michael Maynard, owner of Maynard and Sons Memorial Masons, was inspired to get involved after hearing customers' heart-breaking stories of loss.

It's a project close to his heart as Mr Maynard's own father died last week after testing positive for the virus.

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He would like the memorial to be placed in the town centre and made his offer of a permanent public plaque after reading about the display of more than 300 white crosses placed by James Steele in front of Kettering General Hospital in the Northants Telegraph.

Michael, 66, said: "It would not be elaborate and be put somewhere in the town. If the hospital and the various authorities could approve, I'd be happy to provide something for free.

"It's been grim over the past few months. I've heard many stories of people who have lost loved ones, stories of relatives of those loved ones in care homes who may only get a glimpse of a mum or dad."

Michael runs his business with son Julien from their premises in Regent Street in Kettering.

l-r Michael Maynard, Julien Maynard and Lynn Peck (administrator)

He said: "We listen as they tell their stories through stifled tears. I have been a memorial mason for 40 years and have never witnessed such stories and the grief we feel for so many of our clients."

Michael's 93-year-old father Reg died in Southend and although he had both dementia and bowel cancer, he was also Covid-19 positive at the time of his death in a care home.

He said: "Making a headstone is an honour. It's the last thing someone can do for their loved one.

"I want people to have somewhere to go to remember.

Michael and Julien Maynard - Maynard and Sons

"Somewhere near the library in one of the public spaces and make it look nice for the people of the town. I'd be happy to do this."