Scotland has registered another death from the coronavirus, leaving a family and close friends of the latest victim devastated and struggling with grief in the ongoing pandemic fallout.

To be denied the normal process of grief and close contact during those precious final days and the shared experience of loss at funeral services has been hard to bear.

Today The Herald’s campaign to create a Garden of Remembrance for families in need of a special place to find solace and comfort received a very welcome £5,000 donation to help bring it a step nearer to creation.

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Richard Clarke, managing director of the Harry Clarke Group of companies based in Hillington, was quick to respond to the appeal when one of his senior directors – Mark Lammey – lost a very close friend to Covid-19 in the most traumatic of circumstances.

At the location where the garden and a specially designed memorial cairn will be built in Glasgow’s Pollok Country Park, Connie McCready met Mr Clarke to express her gratitude for his generous support to this “wonderful project”.

The donation boosts the appeal fund which has already attracted generous support from across the city and the rest of Scotland to help move closer to the target set of £50,000.

Ms McCready had been due to marry her fiancé Jim Russell, 51, of four years. However he caught the virus in mid-March just before the country went into lockdown.

The tragic news of how Mr Russell, from Parkhead battled against the killer virus and of his fiancee desperate 35-day isolation ordeal with only telephone updates to rely on touched the whole workforce of the Hillington based Clarke Group. The couple’s friend Mark Lammey works as a senior director with HCS Mechanical and Electrical Services.

In the few short weeks since the launch of the appeal and the financial help from HCS boss Mr Clarke, the project has been propelled by enthusiastic support. Glasgow City Council has identified the location – a beautiful site off Rhododendron Avenue on the north east entrance to the park in the city’s southside.

And city landscape architect Rachel Smith is helping shape opportunities to transform this quiet and beautiful area into something appropriate as a lifetime legacy for families and friends to visit and call their own for quiet reflection.

Ms Smith has identified the need for appropriate seating and spacing in the garden and Ms McCready has just learned that Mr Clarke’s donation will fund the creation of 10 bespoke benches – one of which will be dedicated to the memory of her late beloved fiancé Jim.

For Ms McCready, like so many of those who have lost a loved one during this period of stress and heartache, the pain and bewilderment remains.

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“It’s been eight weeks since Jim died… but this has not been like any other grief I have known. I lost my mother eight years ago and I lost a brother five years ago…those were terrible times and live with me still but this is a grief that has to be done alone in so many ways.

“I haven’t cuddled my dad for 14 weeks. This is a very lonely difficult time. I want to look through photographs and share stories with friends and family but so much is done in total isolation. I have my youngest daughter living with me but I must protect her from some of my grief.”

“I lost Jim to this virus and both myself and my daughter caught it but didn’t suffer badly… but we’re left bemused and a little angry that no-one is telling us we should get the anti-body tests that are available in England so that we can know if we could catch it again.

“I am really paranoid about catching the virus and yet I see all these people not wearing masks when in shops and on crowded beaches and parks. The world just seems so mixed up and dangerous and confusing right now. And for people who have lost someone it is also just such a very lonely place.”

Through her connections with online support groups, she has shared the news of The Herald Memorial Garden throughout the UK and says everyone has been incredibly supportive of it, describing it as fabulous idea and one that they would love to have more locally where they live.

“That’s why it was so phenomenal for The Herald to come up with this idea so swiftly right at the outset when so many families were experiencing such grief.”

The Harry Clarke Group of companies – specialising in asbestos clearance, demolition, heating, plumbing and waste water management services – employs more than 100 staff and is now rerunning to full operations after a period of furlough. Mr Clarke echoed the views of Ms McCready when he spoke of the need to continue to be vigilant during this ongoing pandemic threat.

“It’s vital we all do everything to keep risk to a minimum. We owe it to the relatives of those who have caught the virus and lost their lives. Health and safety is at the core of our business and never more so than now that we are back in business as part of the united effort to get our economy revitalised again.”

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. If you would like to help, send an email to: