IT was a simple idea – a stone to remember the lives of every single person in Scotland who has lost their lives to coronavirus.

And from that stemmed a vision to create a memorial cairn and garden of remembrance where families can go to and provide a place where they can sit in peace with their thoughts.

Just over a week ago The Herald launched its Garden of Remembrance campaign to bring together a volunteer army to help make our vision a reality.

We have been overwhelmed by the support offered and goodwill messages the campaign has received. There has been offers of help from garden experts to jewellery designers wanting to donate proceeds of a rainbow-inspired collection.

Glasgow City Council has offered to make a site available at Pollok Country Park for the memorial garden. The idea has been backed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and has also received cross party support.

We have also had members of the public getting in touch asking what they can do or if they can make a financial contribution.

Read more: Coronavirus in Scotland: City workforce first to pledge financial support for memorial garden campaign following death of groom-to-be

And today we can announce that we are launching a public fund in aid of The Herald Garden of Remembrance Campaign. We have set a target of £50,000 to create a place of sanctuary which we hope will be a fitting tribute to those who lost their lives to this devastating virus.

The campaign has already been given a fantastic boost with an initial donation offer of £5000.

Hillington-based HCS Mechanical and Electrical was the first to come forward in the hope it can be put towards memorial benches for the site.

Their generous offer was made after we reported in The Herald how Glasgow groom-to-be Jim Russell died from Covid-19. The link to the firm was through Mr Russell’s close friend Mark Lammey, a director at the company.

Mr Russell’s heartbroken fiancée Connie McCready spoke of the pain of losing her soulmate – they were due to marry this month.

Ms McCready backed our campaign, saying: “I believe a place of reflection will be a terrific asset for the people of Glasgow but it might also become a focus where there can be support for families and loved ones affected so badly by this terrible virus."

Read more: First Minister shows support for Herald memorial garden campaign

Mr Lammey was so shaken by the death of his friend that his emotions rippled through the workforce of HCS Mechanical and Electrical where managing director Richard Clarke immediately decided that the campaign deserved the support of the business community and the people of the city. They pledged an amazing £5000.

Mr Clarke said: “We’re hugely supportive of this wonderful initiative and hope the people of Glasgow get right behind it.

"Clearly this is a great opportunity for the people of Glasgow to express their support for those who have been left bewildered and heartbroken by the consequences of Covid-19.”

Thanks to the generosity of Glasgow City Council, the Garden of Remembrance will be built in Pollok Park, and we hope organisations, groups and people across Scotland will donate time, effort and materials to help make it a reality.

Donald Martin, editor of The Herald, said: “We really hoped this was a project that people would donate gifts in kind to and we have been contacted by people with offers of help to build it, materials and even design it. We have also had the offer to fund memorial benches. However, there has been a tremendous demand for people, including readers and well wishers, to put money towards the campaign. In response to this we have decided to launch a fund. We have set a target of £50,000 to allow us to create what we think will be a memorial which serves as a fitting tribute to those who have died and their families.”

To donate, visit our fundraiser here.

If you would like to help the campaign in any way, get in touch at email