THEY are the personal accounts, innermost thoughts and feelings of people trying to come to terms with how the pandemic has affected them.

The anonymous refrains could be from a bereaved relative, someone coping with the effects ‘long covid’ or those grieving the loss of a future or hope.

The theme of I Remember is how artist Alec Finlay, appointed to help create Scotland's covid memorial, will reach out to people and an approach which was today welcomed.

An account of I Remember from the pandemic

An account of I Remember from the pandemic

And the feedback he receives will help to shape and form the future design of the memorial in Glasgow's Pollok Country Park. Our memorial campaign, initiated and led by The Herald, recently appointed leading artist Mr Finlay to help us guide the project.

The announcement came as the campaign approaches the first anniversary and revealed the intention to create a memorial to those who died from covid.

Read more: Covid memorial: How I Remember theme can reach out to help culture of recuperation

Through his work Mr Finlay had already been collecting I Remember accounts which can be anonymous submissions. Also working on the project will be Lucy Richards and Ken Cockburn.

It is our hope that some of the submissions will be used to create the memorial and that they will be archived to offer a record and legacy of the pandemic. Mr Finlay is planning to run an I Remember blog from mid June.

He believes by using the I Remember theme, developed from an idea of American artist Joe Brainard, that it is not on him to sum up the pandemic for everyone, adding: “Instead I am going to ask everyone to understand what the pandemic is.”

One recent example was 'I remember when I talked to my body, told her that she’s capable, and thanked her for what she’s been able to do over the last seven months.'

Campaign supporter Connie McCready, 47, who lost her fiancé Jim Russell to covid in May 2020, welcomed the news that an artist had been appointed and looked forward to offering input.

Ms McCready, who set up Covid 19 Families Scotland support group, knows only too well how difficult it has been to grieve the loss of a loved in these unprecedented times. She became involved in the campaign after Hillington-based Harry Clarke Group of companies made a £5000 donation to the public fund in memory of her fiancé whose close friend worked for the firm.

Read more: Scotland's covid memorial campaign appoints artist to work on historic project

Even in the past few days and weeks, it has been hard for Ms McCready to see families in some areas of Scotland being able to reunite and even hug.

“I am delighted that Mr Finlay has been appointed at this stage as the memorial means a great deal to so many people who have not been able to hold the funerals they would like or be with loved ones,” said Ms McCready. “I am looking forward to speaking to him and looking at how we can become involved in the idea of I Remember which for some will be a difficult thing.”

Artist Alec Finlay who has been appointed to lead the artistic engagement process for the memorial with Lucy Richards who will also be working on the project. Picture by Stewart Attwood.

Artist Alec Finlay who has been appointed to lead the artistic engagement process for the memorial with Lucy Richards who will also be working on the project. Picture by Stewart Attwood.

Julie Procter, chief executive of outdoor space charity Greenspace Scotland, who is managing the artistic commission on our behalf, said: “Through the simple but powerful form of the I remember statements, Alec will guide and nurture us in a communal act of witness that reflects our experiences as a society and individuals, to shape a living memorial at Pollok Country Park in Glasgow and at other greenspaces across Scotland.

"At Greenspace Scotland, we’ve seen how important parks and greenspaces have been to many of us over the last year. Offering places of solace and sanctuary, somewhere to meet with friends and family, connect with nature and find space and solace during challenging times. It feels right that Scotland’s covid memorial will continue this connection with the restorative and healing power of nature and greenspaces.”

Mrs Procter added being involved in developing Scotland’s covid memorial was an honour and privilege that brings with it a weight of responsibility to ensure that together we create a fitting memorial which reflects the voices and experience of people and communities across Scotland.

She added: “Working with colleagues in the NHS, we’ve seen how artists can sensitively connect with people to give a voice and creative expression to people’s grief and lived experience – and we felt this was the right approach for Scotland’s covid memorial.”

HeraldScotland: How to donate to Scotland's covid memorialHow to donate to Scotland's covid memorial

Soon after The Herald launched the campaign, Glasgow City Council generously stepped forward with the offer of a site at Pollok Country Park for the memorial. And within days we launched a public fund which has raised more than £60,000.

Our campaign has also received cross party support as well as a donation from the Scottish Government. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the memorial will be a beautiful and fitting memorial to those who have died in the pandemic.

To find out more or to submit an I Remember account email iremember2021@yahoo.com