A RALLYING call to help The Herald’s campaign to create a memorial garden for Scotland’s victims of coronavirus has been answered.

When The Herald launched the Garden of Remembrance campaign in May it received phenomenal backing and support and has inspired some people to go that extra mile and launch their own fundraising projects.

We set a target through our GoFundMe page of £50,000 to build a fitting memorial for loved ones to have a place to go to to remember those they have lost to the coronavirus. Today we are delighted to reveal we have reached more than one fifth of our target having passed the £10,000 milestone to raise a total of £11,709.

It is through your generosity and commitment to the memorial garden campaign that we have been able to hit this first target.

Donald Martin, editor of The Herald said: “We are absolutely delighted to have surpassed £10k in donations so far and much appreciate the kindness and generosity of all those who have kindly gifted to help fund a garden memorial for the victims of coronavirus."

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A recent donation to the fund came from Scots jeweller and artist Caitlin Hegney. She had got in touch to donate the proceeds of her latest collection, which was rainbow-inspired, to our campaign. We are very grateful for her £440 donation.

And contributions from Herald readers tipped us over the £10,000 mark with their £1370 donations by cheque.

Early on in the campaign we received a £5000 donation from Hillington-based business Harry Clarke Group of companies following the death of a close friend of one of their directors. Jim Russell, from Glasgow, died from the virus in May.

The Herald:

Rachel Smith, from Glasgow City Council, at Pollok Park

Just days after the campaign was launched, Glasgow City Council leaders stepped forward with the offer of a site at Pollok Country Park and we are now exploring how the site will take shape.

In a joint statement from both Councillor Susan Aitken, council leader, and Lord Provost Phil Braat, they said: "We’re delighted to be able to work with the Herald to find space for a memorial garden.

“As one of Glasgow’s best loved parks, Pollok Country Park is a fitting location to remember those we have lost. Although it’s near the city centre it has plenty of quiet space where people can go to remember and hopefully find some solace in nature.

“As Glaswegians we are lucky to have easy access to great parks whenever we want. But this will be a location for people from all around the country to visit. As well as receiving a friendly welcome they will find Pollok Country Park easy to get to with all the facilities they’ll need.”

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A special steering group has been set up to take the project forward which will meet next week.

The Herald’s vision is to create a memorial cairn and peaceful garden as a place where families can go to to remember their loved ones lost to the pandemic.

It is hoped the site will be a place for people to be alone with their thoughts or reflect on the lives of people who have died.

The idea stemmed from a memorial cairn which helped bereaved families in a Glasgow church.

The Herald:

Jim Russell and Connie McCready had been due to marry. He died in May from the virus.

Rev Neil Galbraith spoke of a cairn at Cathcart Old Parish Church which was created in the 1990s to help the bereaved families who had lost loved ones in the first Gulf War.

Mr Galbraith, who is now on our steering group, said the relatives were each given a pebble to place – something tangible they could hold on to which helped with their healing.

Steering group member and The Herald magazine’s gardening writer Dave Allan suggested soothing planting be considered and that the colour yellow could be incorporated. Yellow has become a colour associated with families who have lost someone from coronavirus with yellow hearts being placed in windows similar to the rainbow idea for the NHS.

Our campaign has received support from across Scotland and several offers of help for when the project is under way. We are also looking to enlist the services of a landscape architect to help us explore the design stage.

We want to move to the next stage of the project which will be at the heart of a transformed Pollok Park. It is due to undergo a transformation, ahead of the Burrell Collection reopening next year. Our garden will be located in woodland accessed from the north east entrance to the park known affectionately as Rhododendron Avenue.

Rachel Smith, landscape and architectural services, at the council’s parks development, said:

“We thought about how it would be nice to have day out and encourage people to explore the park and discover some of the quieter spaces which is how we thought of an area for the memorial garden.

“When I think of a memorial, it allows a moment in our day for a quiet time and some of the gladed areas around the woodland allow that. You might discover them while walking to another part and stop to hear the birdsongs in Pollok Park and it could be a magical moment.”

We were delighted when Scots actor and Trainspotting star Robert Carlyle backed the campaign.

He said: “This is a lovely campaign to build a cairn in memory of those lost to coronavirus in Scotland, with a stone to represent every victim. A Garden of Remembrance to be built in Pollok Park, Glasgow.”

To donate 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.

If you can help email memorialgarden@theherald.co.uk