THE final touches of a six foot wooden cross were made in Glasgow woodwork yard and this week it now proudly stands in the grounds of a church in the city’s south side.

In the weeks and months since the first deaths to covid and sadly deaths unrelated to the virus during the pandemic, Cathcart Old Parish Church minister, Rev Neil Galbraith recognised there would be a need for people to come together to grieve and heal.

However, while we find ourselves approaching the first anniversary of lockdown tomorrow restrictions remain in place on gathering and Mr Galbraith, who is also the chaplain for Police Scotland, explored a different way of giving people a chance to remember loved ones.

Read more: Family's heartache one year on after losing Glasgow great-grandmother to coronavirus

“From people I have spoken to in our church community and also the police community I am involved in, the response which kept coming back was they needed time to heal,” Mr Galbraith said. “When time allows, hopefully at the end of the year, we are planning to hold a memorial service in the church for past and serving police officers who have died in the past 12 months, but there are many other people who have lost someone.

“We have come through a period of terrible loss and now there has to be a healing opportunity. That’s how the idea of having a cross in the church grounds came about as people need to be able to grieve and heal just now.

“It’s also about remembering the year we have come through and it could relate to any of us including young people who have had a particularly hard time with schooling disruption and at times not being able to see friends.”

Remembrance cross in the grounds of Cathcart Old Parish Church

Remembrance cross in the grounds of Cathcart Old Parish Church

The cross, built at the Bullwood Project, a Glasgow-based charity which helps people from all walks of life develop their woodwork skills, will be in place for a week.

Mr Galbraith, who is also a member of The Herald memorial garden project’s steering group, added: “Anyone can come along and place a flower on the cross as an act of remembrance for someone they have lost or they may just feel the need to do something. The idea of a white flower is for remembrance and healing. By the end of the week it might be completely covered in flowers and people can pay their respects in their own time while being socially distanced outdoors.

“I hope this simple act of healing will help until such times we can come together in church again to remember loved ones.”

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

As the founder of Glasgow the Caring City charity, Mr Galbraith along with son Ross have built up a network of people who are often willing to help them in a time of need.

“I did wonder how we were going to get this cross built and it was my son Ross, who is charity’s Projects Development Manager, suggested the Bullwood Project. And they have been marvellous in offering to create it.”

The Bullwood Project, based in Townsend Street, Port Dundas, is run by Joe Kilmartin and he said they were delighted to help.

“We would have been more than happy to do this for them and when we found it what it was for, there was no hesitation at all,” said Mr Kilmartin. “We have used a larch from Perthshire which when oiled will look almost silver. It’s not every day we are asked for a six foot cross, but we had the timber here and it has been a pleasure to do it from them.”

Joe Kilmartin of the Bullwood Project, left, with Scott McIlwraith who puts the finishing touches to the wooden cross made for Cathcart Old Parish Church.

Joe Kilmartin of the Bullwood Project, left, with Scott McIlwraith who puts the finishing touches to the wooden cross made for Cathcart Old Parish Church.

The charity, previously based in Nitshill, has worked with community groups over the years and has helped young people interested in learning a new skill.

Mr Kilmartin, 68, added: “Anyone can come along to our workshops and we don’t charge. You could be working, out of work, or looking for an interest, but we find people get a lot out of it when they have completed something.”

In 2008 Mr Kilmartin also famously took the previous year’s George Square Christmas tree to New York for Tartan Day with the caber having pride of place in the celebrations.

It was turned into the tallest ornamental caber in the world and donated to New York as a sign of friendship.

The Herald memorial garden project is looking to create a place where people can go to remember loved ones who died from covid.

Since the campaign launched last May more than £40,000 has been raised through a public fund, which has attracted some high profile donations. Glasgow City Council leaders, Lord Provost Philip Braat and Council leader, Councillor Susan Aitken offered a site for the memorial in Pollok Country Park.

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