SOULTON Long Barrow, near Wem, will raise a standing stone next month to honour those who have died through the Covid-19 pandemic.

On August 5, a standing stone will be raised in the landscape at Soulton, close to the long barrow.

The commitment to undertake this act emerged from discussions with local faith leaders, as well as humanist celebrants.

In the course of these conversations the challenges of the last few months, loved ones lost and the compromises made because of restrictions on the nature of ritual were all discussed.

Tim Ashton from the long barrow hopes raising the stone will offer comfort to those struggling through the pandemic.

"Standing stones are a universal, neutral, powerful statement," said Tim. "They are symbols of permanence.

"The new monument will be for people of all beliefs and traditions.

"We hope that gathering community representatives who can share thoughts and kind words will offer comfort to those managing the most challenging of life experiences.

"It is important to take a moment to mark what has happened, to stand together and acknowledge that many families have suffered enormously and to underscore the value of humanity we share."

Although representatives of all faiths have been invited to attended, the event will be a private ceremony.

"We are keen to ensure this act of remembrance is inclusive ensuring that everyone, of any faith or religion, or none is equally respected," Tim added.

"Although social distancing rules have been relaxed, we still need to take care making sure everyone is kept safe.

"Regrettably, only those invited will be able to attend.

"Once in place anyone may walk to the stone along the permissive footpath."

Once the stone is in place, Tim says it will claim its purpose in the landscape.

"The stone will have been set in the landscape prior to the gathering," Tim added. "It will have a number of supporting poles.

"As each pole is removed, we are marking that the monument can stand without support. It can claim its position within the landscape, an identity and purpose."