Family’s NHS tribute is captured by Google Maps

A cancer survivor and his children created the message near the River Taff to thank staff for their help during pandemic

GOOGLE Maps has captured a tribute to NHS staff built by a Pontypridd father and his children.

“They’ve had to work under extreme conditions in the last year because of the pandemic and this was just a big thank you for everything they do,” said Carl Thomas.

The NHS tribute as captured by Google Maps.
Imagery ©2021 The GeoInformation Group, Map data ©2021

The sign, which has since washed away due to heavy rain and rising river levels, was located on a bed of rocks near the River Taff in Pontypridd.

Mr Thomas and his two children, 16-year-old Joshua and Jack, 12, spent 90 minutes building the tribute with two-metre high letters on Easter Sunday 2020 whilst on a dog walk.  

The family were “amazed” when a neighbour told them the image had been permanently stored by the mapping service.

“We knew it wasn’t going to going to last, but I wasn’t expecting Google to take a picture of it while it was still there,” he added.

Currently Pontypridd’s Deputy Mayor and a town councillor, Mr Thomas hopes that people will look back at the image in years to come and remember the tributes and the community spirit rather than the pandemic.

“There is a tremendous amount of community spirit still left in society you just need to tap into it.

“Unfortunately, it’s taken something like the flooding in Pontypridd in February last year and Covid for some of those people to become known, but this pandemic has brought a lot of communities back together,” he said.

12-year-old Jack and 16-year-old Joshua show off their NHS tribute on Easter Sunday 2020.

After being diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2009 Mr Thomas was keen to show his support for the staff of the life-saving service, who have faced tremendous difficulties throughout the last year.

He said: “The NHS has always been there for me, my family and people I know and provided support in difficult times and the pandemic has been like no other.”

The Deputy Mayor is not planning any future tributes but is currently involved in placing a memorial bench outside the Rhydyfelin Community Centre, to commemorate the lives lost over the last year.