CONNIE McCready is facing the second Christmas without her fiancé Jim Russell who died from Covid at the age of 51.

And while it might be some 19 months since she lost him to the terrible virus, for Ms McCready, 47, life will never be the same again.

Her beloved partner Jim died after contracting the virus early on in the pandemic. He was transferred from a Glasgow hospital where he was being treated to receive specialist care in Aberdeen, but died on May 4, 2020.

She, like many bereaved families, have been craving a place to remember loved ones and to know that they and those who lost their lives are respected.

Re. The Herald covid memorial garden. Family handout photograph of Jim Russell with fiancee Connie McCready..Jim Russell, 51, from Glasgow, died May 4, 2020.....

Family handout photograph of Jim Russell with fiancee Connie McCready

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Ms McCready has been a supporter of The Herald’s Covid memorial shortly after we launched last year. Her fiancé, who she was due to marry in June last year, was a close friend of a director who works for the Harry Clarke Group of companies, based in Hillington, Renfrewshire. It was through the company's managing director Richard Clarke that a £5000 donation was made towards the campaign and kick-started our public fund.

On seeing the Covid memorial design for the first time Ms McCready was left speechless.

“It really is amazing,” she said: “To see the figures linking in with the trees and to think they are poses which represent some of us is just fantastic to see. Families have been through so much and I think this has come at the right time for them. It is still difficult for them months on.”

The Herald is campaigning to create I remember: Scotland’s Covid Memorial in the grounds of Pollok Country Park.

Yesterday we revealed Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is backing our campaign which has also been boosted by a major donation.

She revealed that the Scottish Government was contributing a further £25,000 towards our fundraising target of £233,500.

I remember: Scotlands Covid Memorial will be created at Pollok Country Park

I remember: Scotland's Covid Memorial will be created at Pollok Country Park

Read more: Nicola Sturgeon backs Scotland's covid memorial campaign and announces £25k boost to fund

The Herald revealed the first images of what will become I remember: Scotland’s Covid Memorial last Saturday. The design has been brought together by our dedicated artist Alec Finlay and our partners at Glasgow City Council who offered to host the memorial.

Last year Ms Sturgeon offered her support to The Herald Covid memorial campaign with the Scottish Government pledging just over £16,000 to the project which was still in the early research and development stage.

However, with a further £25,000 pledged from the Scottish Government, we have now raised more than £86,000.

Designed and created by our artist Alec Finlay, a series of wooden structures will be created in the grounds of the stunning park. One of the main focal points will be the Riverside Grove, with a meadow of wildflowers and woodland path, and will be linked to other sites by around 50 supports allowing people to create their own memorial walk.

The memorial’s figures represent supports and are formed by people conveying emotion and feelings at a moment in time.

During the engagement stage last year Mr Finlay reached out to people using the I remember form, a single sentence, which captures the feelings and emotions of someone at a particular moment in time.

Ms McCready, who set up Covid 19 Families Support in Scotland, was among those who took part in a series of workshops to help create their own I remember.

These short passages will be accessed through audio linked to a QR code at the various locations in the park.

Ms McCready added: “I think that now families can visualise this and it is something they may have contributed to through an I remember or a pose which has become a physical, is very important to them.

“For many people this might be their first Christmas after losing a loved one to Covid and it is a very difficult time. To think that here we are nearly two years on makes it is very difficult for any closure as we live with it 24/7.”

HeraldScotland:

Our artist Alec Finlay said he felt the memorial had to be on a larger scale and more integrated with nature.

He said: “I wanted to make a work on the theme of support. How we support one another emotionally, physically, spiritually and the key motif for the Covid memorial is our relationship to trees. We are creating a series of oak tree supports which we made using people making poses of support with trees. All of the designs are based on photographs of people that had been affected by Covid in some way.

“We are going to make 50 of these through Pollok Country Park. Four of them are going to be in groves. One by the river, called the riverside grove, one in a beautiful grove of beech trees and one on the hillside amongst azalea and rhododendron and also a birch grove. The idea is that these will give a focus within the park, but that there will also be smaller, single points of interest."