THE CORONAVIRUS pandemic has claimed the lives of thousands, and now a memorial is to be unveiled dedicated to those who have died from the virus.

The memorial, to be called Souls to Paradise, will take the form of a giant flock of individually folded paper cranes – with each crane representing a life lost to Covid-19.

It will open to the public for a week from Tuesday, July 27 at The Spire, a creative space inside the Grade II listed former St Mark’s Chapel in East Brighton.

Families, school and NHS staff are being invited to fold a crane, and add a personal message, in memory of a lost family, member friend or college.

By the time the display is ready, organisers hope to have more than one thousand cranes suspended from the high ceiling of the former church.

Every single crane received will be included in the display.

Dr Christa Beesley, a GP at Wellsbourne Healthcare CIC in Whitehawk, said: “I started to fold origami cranes for health and care colleagues who lost their lives looking after others.

“I made them all in bright primary colours so that when they fly together they look a bit like an NHS rainbow.

“Now, we are inviting families, schools and the whole community to get involved by folding their own crane, for a friend or family member they have lost, or to mark the suffering we have all witnessed.”

Artist Ian Leaver-Blaxstone , who appeared on Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2019, is designing and installing the memorial display.

Entrance to the Spire will be free, but there will be collection boxes for local charities including Spire Arts and Cruse Bereavement.

The Argus: Photo of St Mark's Church by Mike QuinnPhoto of St Mark's Church by Mike Quinn

Faith Dodkins, co-artistic director at The Spire Arts said: “Our organisation, like so many others in the city, has been deeply affected by the coronavirus pandemic but we are thrilled to be taking small steps towards fully re-opening to the public this Spring.

“We cannot think of a more appropriate way in which to sensitively remember those we have lost and look forward to giving people the time and space to reflect on their personal experiences of the past year.”

Since March 2020, 460 people have died in Brighton and Hove due to Covid-19. Across the country, more than 900 NHS staff have lost their lives caring for others.

Many people have been living with grief and loss, often unable to attend funerals due to the lockdown restrictions.

For instructions on how to fold a crane and where to send it to be part of the Brighton and Hove ‘Souls to Paradise’ Memorial, please visit: send an email to