NICOLA Sturgeon has backed the Herald’s campaign for a memorial to coronavirus victims, saying she was “instinctively supportive” of remembering those lost to the pandemic.

The First Minister said the country as whole would want to pay tribute to those who died and honor those in the frontline fighting the disease.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s daily briefing on the disease, she said: “The garden of remembrance proposal is exactly the kind of thing I would be instinctively very supportive of.

“I absolutely know that at an appropriate time we will want as a country to remember and pay tribute to those who have lost their lives to from this virus.

“We will also want to appropriately recognise all of those who have made a contribution to tackling this virus.

“I think it’s really important emotionally for all of us, as well as for the sake of those who have suffered direct loss, that we do that.

“So yes, in general I would be supportive of that.

“My only caveat is we would want to do some discussion and consultation with families who have been affected to get a sense of what the preferred and most appropriate way of doing that would be.

“But I certainly am supportive of and applaud the sentiment behind the campaign.”

Read more: Herald campaign: Creating a place to remember Scotland's coronavirus victims

Her support came as latest Scottish Government figures showed that 2,291 people across Scotland had lost their lives to coronavirus.

The Herald vision to create a fitting memorial has now gained cross party support.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said he was endorsing our campaign.

He said: “The coronavirus pandemic is the single greatest public health challenge Scotland has faced in living memory, and we must never forget those that we have lost to this terrible virus.

“To this end, I am proud to endorse the Herald’s Garden of Remembrance campaign. By creating a memorial cairn for everyone lost to coronavirus we can ensure that we as a nation never forget the deceased.

“I also think it is right to consider a minute’s silence to remember those who we have lost. This has been championed by churches in Airdrie who hold a minute’s silence at 8 o’clock every Sunday night.”

“ It is only right that we remember the lives lost in this pandemic in the manner that we remember the lives we have lost in wars and disasters of the past. The immortalisation in stone of the lives of the deceased will ensure that the they live on in the collective national memory.”

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Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said the idea of a memorial garden would bring people together.

Mr Harvie said: “Because of the nature of this virus and the necessary restrictions in place to limit its spread, bereaved families have suffered heartache at being denied normal access to their loved ones and usual funeral proceedings.

“That’s why a memorial garden could be a place of real significance, a special place for those who have lost loved ones to this terrible virus to remember them.

“I back the Herald campaign for a place to bring us together to remember those we have lost, and would support the creation of gardens by every community who would value one locally.”

Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw said: “The Covid outbreak has been a period of immeasurable emotional hardship for many of us.

“Grieving the loss of a loved one in these circumstances, without the presence of our extended families, without the comfort of our friends is particularly painful.

“A memorial garden for the families of Covid victims would be very appropriate. It would serve as a reminder to all of us of the human cost of this crisis, and it could be a place of comfort and support for those whose loved ones are memorialised.”

While Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said this is a "wonderful proposal from the Herald and would serve as a lasting memorial to the thousands of Scots who have lost their lives during this crisis."

He added: "I hope the Scottish Government will consider these proposals and work with families to deliver a fitting memorial."

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