SCOTLAND’S Covid memorial has been hailed as the perfect blend of reflection and remembrance by one of our campaign’s generous donors.
Former printing tycoon and philanthropist John Watson donated £10,000 in response to our initial fundraising appeal, and today described plans for I remember: Scotland’s Covid Memorial as unique.
The Herald’s campaign received a major boost after launching the latest phase and revealing the first image of what will become a focal point in Glasgow’s Pollok Country Park.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon offered her support and yesterday we revealed how the Scottish Government has pledged a further £25,000 following its initial donation of just over £16,000.
The Herald is campaigning to raise £233,500 to create the national Covid memorial – an idea we initiated last year – and we have now raised more than £86,000 towards our target.
And as the country finds itself gripped by the virus again, we want to give hope to bereaved families that their loved ones will be remembered.
Mr Watson, who was among the first high-profile figures to offer his support to the campaign, said: “While the suffering and sense of loss borne by so many can never be diminished or forgotten, this unique memorial will provide a vital focal point for all of Scotland to remember lost loved ones.
“I am deeply impressed by the thoughtfulness and empathy which has clearly gone into this design and look forward to it becoming a reality.”
The Herald decided to launch the Covid memorial campaign following an article in which Reverend Neil Galbraith, of Glasgow’s Cathcart Old Parish Church, highlighted that at some point we will have to remember what we have been through.
It led to the campaign being launched and receiving support from the public. An offer of a £5,000 donation from Hillington-based Harry Clarke group of companies in memory of Jim Russell, a close friend of a company director who died from Covid, led to a public fund being set up.
The tragic news of how Mr Russell, from Parkhead, battled against the virus and of his fiancee Connie’s desperate 35-day isolation ordeal, with only telephone updates to rely on, touched the whole workforce of the group.
Richard Clarke, managing director of the Harry Clarke group, said: “It is a very fitting design and we have always been happy to support the campaign and to highlight it whenever we can.”
Our funds total steadily climbed and we were humbled by the support from members of the public and by fundraising initiatives from bereaved relatives.
We also received a £10,000 donation from the Freemasons of Glasgow.
Andrew Mushet, Provincial Grand Master of Glasgow, said it is privileged to be involved in the project.
Mr Mushet, who is also a member of our steering group, said: “When The Herald announced its initiative to raise funds for a memorial in remembrance of those who died during the Covid pandemic, the Freemasons of Glasgow were inspired to contribute to the project which would create a place of solace for those who lost loved ones.
“Freemasonry has been an integral part of the city for centuries and their ethos of ‘Faith, Hope and Charity’ resonated with them during this awful time. ‘Faith’ in our frontline services who serve us unabated, in particular our wonderful NHS. ‘Hope’ that science will overcome the worst effects of the virus and that ‘Charity’ is extended to those less fortunate in our communities in their time of need, irrespective of race, creed or colour.”
The memorial will become known as I remember: Scotland’s Covid Memorial and will be a chance for the people of Scotland to unite and remember those lost. Our artist’s impression shows what will become one of the main sites in Pollok Country Park – the Riverside Grove.
Glasgow City Council generously stepped in to offer the park as the location for the proposed Covid memorial.
Our memorial artist Alec Finlay has come up with a concept which would involve significant memorial sites in Pollok Country Park – Riverside Grove, Beech Grove, Hillside Grove and Birch Grove.
It would involve 50 oak tree supports.
We reached out to people over the past few months using the “I remember” prompts. These heartfelt passages have captured a moment in time and our hope is that audio of the “I remember” passages will be accessed through QR codes. The key message of the memorial will be displayed in several languages.
To donate, go to The Herald memorial garden go to gofundme.com/ herald-garden-of-remembrance.
You can also send donations via post to The Herald Garden of Remembrance Campaign, Herald & Times, 125 Fullarton Drive, Glasgow, G32 8FG. Keep up to date with the latest news at www.heraldscotland.com/campaigns/i-remember/