IT has been 12 long months since we found ourselves plunged into a national lockdown, cut off from families, friends and work colleagues.

Sadly for some they have had to deal with their grief in unprecedented times following the loss of a loved one. Unable to hold the funerals they would have wished for, unable to hug a loved one tight, unable to cry on the shoulder of a parent, sibling, or friend.

Through our coverage of the pandemic last year and interviews we published with those working tirelessly in our communities or helping those on the front line, one question kept recurring – how do we remember loved ones?

Read more: Covid one year on: families pay tribute to those lost to the virus

It was an article with Cathcart Old Parish Church minister and Police Scotland chaplain Rev Neil Galbraith which raised the point of there being a need to find a time and a place to remember those lost.

And that’s when The Herald began to look at what could be done, what would people want or were we a little to soon to talk about the possibility of a memorial.

The Covid death toll had claimed the lives of many Scots and left families devastated but while we were beginning to emerge from the initial lockdown last May, many social distancing restrictions remained in place.

However, there was signs of hope as the country began to slowly unlock.

It was with a sense of hope that at the end of May 2020, The Herald decided to launch the garden of remembrance campaign – a simple idea to remember the lives of every Scot who had died from the virus.

Just what the response would be at the time, no one was quite able to tell. However, it was launched on May 26. Within days we realised that yes, perhaps the time was right to discuss how we could approach the idea of a national memorial.

Read more: Lockdown anniversary: momentum grows for minute silence and national day of reflection for lives lost

We received support from families, cross-party support, offers of help and people asking how they could become involved.

A public fund was set up which has so far raised nearly £44,000. We were delighted when Glasgow Lord Provost Philip Braat and city council leader Susan Aitken came forward with the offer of a site for the memorial in the city’s Pollok Country Park.

I recently wrote about RAF veteran John Connelly, from Glasgow, who died from the virus at the age of 104. To be able to tell his story through the words of his family and offer readers a snapshot of his life was important.

It was important that his life was remembered – and that is why we believe this memorial garden project matters. For anyone grieving the loss of a loved one or when readers feel they too need time to reflect and heal, the garden will be a place for them too.

To donate go to The Herald memorial garden go to 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. Keep up to date with the latest news at