By Deborah Anderson

A garden of remembrance could have the ability to bring people together and help them heal, according to the chief executive of one of Scotland's leading hospices.

The Herald's campaign to create a memorial garden for those who have lost their lives to coronavirus is being backed by Rhona Baillie, the woman at the helm of the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow.

Our vision is to build a memorial cairn with a stone representing every Scot who died from the virus.

And a public fundraiser to make the garden a reality has been launched with nearly £2000 raised. We have also been offered a site at Pollok Country Park by Glasgow City Council.

Mrs Baillie said she thought the idea of a memorial garden was fantastic.

"I think because we have got this space at Bellahouston Park, we understand how it can be used and I think we know more than most how beneficial it can be to have an open space and how it can help people’s grief process," she said.

Read more: Herald Campaign: Memorial garden will be a place that brings some comfort and solace, says Scots Makar

“It is a wonderful idea and is very fitting to support people who have lost someone. Glasgow is the most giving city and I think the city will support this as they are amazing people. We know as they supported us through our £21million appeal to build our new home. Everyone will understand that this outside space will be such a special place.

“I think what you are providing, however it looks, will be a haven. I think it will act as a real healer. People haven’t been able to be together in a way they normally would when someone passes away from Covid-19. One of the positives it that it might bring people together. Different families who have no knowledge of each other might take strength and peace.

"To sit next to someone who has been through the same thing that can all help. In our grounds families talk to one another sometimes in a way you can’t explain. If you provide a place where people want to go and sit you will see the kindness of Glasgow.

“The people of Glasgow help us raise what we needed and I can’t put into words. This is something practical that people can do and get behind and it will help with the grief process.”

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

The Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice provides specialist palliative care for people with life-limiting illnesses and support for their families and carers.

The new hospice, in Bellahouston Park, was officially opened in 2018 after moving from its original site in Calton Place. It provides single rooms for in-patients, with dedicated access to their own outdoor space. It also, for the first time, provides care for young people aged 16 and over.

The hospice, which was founded as a charitable trust by the late Dr Anne Gilmore, was gifted to Prince Charles and Princess Diana as a wedding present, the idea of then Lord Provost Michael Kelly.

During lockdown it was important to the hospice that they managed to find a way to allow families to still see one another and visiting has been managed well since the start of restrictions.

Mrs Baillie added: “We have successfully managed to allow patients to have family and friends. We didn’t want them to be separated and we are very lucky they have had access to our gardens. I often think of the Florence Nightingale quote “nature alone cures.” The families have had the use of the grounds with guidelines in place and I am very proud of our team that we have been able to do that.

“The Bellahouston site was a vision shared with the people of Glasgow. One of the benefits was to bring the outside in. Here we have beautiful grounds and we absolutely see the benefit of that.”

Lockdown has been a challenging time for many charities as it has meant fundraising lifelines have been cut off and the hospice thinks it will be some months before they can pick up activities again.

Mrs Baillie added: “The people of Glasgow have been quietly and loyally supporting us. We weren’t comfortable in doing a wider appeal at a time when people were losing their jobs or becoming seriously ill. The public have just supported us in a very quiet way. It has been very challenging not being able to run any of our big events but we will be looking to plan towards the end of the year and into next year.”

Coronavirus brought unprecedented times for anyone working in healthcare and staff at the hospice have certainly rallied.

“The bravery of all our staff and in particular those in the clinical team, working with a virus which they know has taken the lives of health care workers, has been amazing," she added. "There has been anxiety around that fact and we have spoken about that. They have put patients and families first and I am very proud of them.

"We look forward to the future when we can all be together again. We have a big sense of community here and we really miss that. We also have more than 800 volunteers who haven’t been able to come to the hospice and you realise what the hospice is all about – people.”

To donate go to: You can also send donations via post to The Herald Garden of Remembrance Campaign, Herald & Times, 125 Fullarton Drive, Glasgow G32 8FG. Cheques should be made payable to The Herald.

If you want to get in touch, email us

Tomorrow: How the hospice is at the heart of the community