FAMILIES of coronavirus victims are petitioning for the council to build a small memorial to remember their loved ones by.

Pauline Mcloughlin from Darwen lost her mum Sheila Hibbitt on May 6, and like many other families who have lost loved ones, wants a place to go to remember her and reflect peacefully.

The petition has now been signed by 3,870 people and Darwen Town Council has also expressed support and willingness to help families grieve.

Mrs Mcloughlin, 55, said: “Both my mum and sister were taken into hospital on Monday May 4. Both were swabbed in A&E and confirmed with Covid-19 the following day.

“My sister eventually responded and was finally discharged home on May 14 but mum didn't make it.

“I didn’t know how to tell my sister because she was still in hospital when our mum died.”

She could not go to tell her sister, Susan Hibbitt, face-to-face, which meant doctors had to break the news.

Mrs Mcloughlin said: “My mum and sister were both isolating together and I was doing all of their shopping, even using new bags every time I went to drop them off at the door.

“We are both numb and cannot understand how they got it as both had been isolating together at their home.”

Mrs Mcloughlin understands the pressures of working in hospitals during the pandemic.

She said: “I think it would be nice to have a garden of remembrance, so people can remember their loved ones because people don’t always want to go to cemeteries.

“NHS workers might want somewhere to sit and reflect, as do other key workers on the frontline.

“I want to sit and talk to mum and think about her somewhere that is not a graveside.

“Some families cannot get together any other way, having a memorial at a park can make it easier.”

She has also spoken to Darwen councillors, who are hoping to find a place in Darwen for a memorial bench and some trees.

She said: “It would be nice to see other towns like Blackburn and Hyndburn do the same.”

Cllr Kevin Connor, representing Darwen South, said: “We are aware of the petition and have made preliminary enquires about where we could site something in one of the parks.

“But until things get back to normal, we cannot finalise things.

“I have been in discussion with councillor Brian Taylor, and he has done quite a bit of work on this.

“It is a terrible time and it is understandable that people want somewhere to remember loved ones.”