The Stray to host major tribute to NHS as Harrogate International Festivals links up with award-winning artist

The Stray is to play host to a major art installation 34 metres in diameter with more than 100 flags made from hospital bed sheets in a tribute to frontline NHS staff and care workers.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 1:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 13th May 2021, 1:08 pm
Stunning tribute to NHS staff - The Stray in Harrogate will be the first place in Yorkshire to welcome artist Luke Jerram's NHS tribute.

To be located on the parkland at West Park, In Memorium is designed as a temporary memorial to those lost over the last 15 months - as well as acting as a tribute to frontline NHS staff and care workers who have constantly put their lives at risk during the ongoing pandemic.

The 100 flags made from hospital bed sheets arranged in the form of a medical symbol in a visually stunning touring art installation which is the work of award-winning artist Luke Jerram.

Harrogate will be the first place in Yorkshire to welcome Jerram's NHS tribute and the whole project will be delivered by Harrogate International Festivals, supported by Hornbeam Park, Harrogate BID and Swainsons Funeral Directors.

Sharon Canavar, Harrogate International Festivals Chief Executive, said: “We are thrilled that Harrogate is the first Yorkshire destination for this incredible touring art installation by Luke Jerram.

“Covid has impacted on the lives of absolutely everyone around the globe, and Luke has created In Memoriam with a dual purpose. Whilst being a temporary memorial to those who have lost their lives from coronavirus, it is also a fitting tribute to the NHS staff and care workers who have put their own lives at risk on a daily basis doing their jobs.

“We don’t want people to just look at In Memoriam from afar, we want people to experience it; we want individuals, families and friends to walk into the heart of it; we want them to sit under the flags and quietly reflect the events of the last 15 months.”

Work creating the In Memoriam art installation will begin on Monday, May 24, with it being ‘unveiled’ on the morning of Friday, May 28.

It will be in situ on the Stray until Monday, June 7.

Sharon Canavar added: “Two year ago, we were lucky enough to bring Luke’s Museum of the Moon to St Wilfrid’s Church, which was one of the highlights of that summer’s International Festival, and was visited by more than 10,000 people.

“As an arts charity delivering festivals and events, we were first to close and will be the last to open, but we can’t just open the doors on our venues and go straight back to normal. We wanted to create something unique in Harrogate that acknowledged the last year whilst allowing us to create a safe, outdoor event for the town.

“I’d like to thank all our supporters for helping us deliver In Memoriam to Harrogate, which we also hope will remind people of the power of the arts, which has also been a casualty of the Covid pandemic.”

In Memorium is only the first in a series of installations and events that Harrogate International Festivals - which this year celebrates its 55th anniversary - will be delivering and producing across the town over the coming months.

Harrogate International Festivals is best-known for its summer season of international music, and producing the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, alongside a host of events across the year including Berwins Salon North, chamber coffee concerts, and the Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival.

Further information about Harrogate International Festivals – and its calendar of activities – is available from its website,

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