THEY ARE emotional passages which reflect how a person affected by Covid has felt at a particular moment in time.

Through a series of workshops and appeals, we wanted to engage with people up and down the country as part of our consultation to take our Covid memorial project forward.

Our artist Alec Finlay reached out to people using the single sentence prompt of I remember, an idea which first originated with American author Joe Brainard.

Read more: Scotland's Covid Memorial first look as funds target is announced

It was a powerful tool which has now led to being an integral part of the memorial and it is our hope that we will be able to record many of them in a dedicated book.

The Herald is leading a fundraising campaign to raise £233,500 to create I remember: Scotland’s Covid Memorial.

HeraldScotland: Scotland's Covid memorial in Pollok Country ParkScotland's Covid memorial in Pollok Country Park

Soon after the campaign launched last year Glasgow City Council stepped forward with the offer of hosting the memorial in Pollok Country Park. And we now revealed designs to the public for the first time of how the memorial will look.

Last week we revealed how we had passed the half point with our funds target. Following donations from Sir Tom Hunter and Lord Willie Haughey of £25,000 each and a further £25,000 donation from the Scottish Government we have now raised £136,000 towards our £233,500 target.

HeraldScotland:

Designed by Mr Finlay, there will be focal points in the park with oak tree supports inspired by physical poses along with pathways and wildflower meadows. They will all link together to create a memorial walk with around 50 supports planned.

Read more: Scotland's covid memorial hailed as the perfect blend for reflection and remembrance

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

Our fundraising target is £233,500 to complete the memorial in the grounds of Pollok Country Park and so far we have raised more than half.

We have been supported by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and just days after the new funds total was revealed she announced a further pledge of £25,000 for the memorial campaign.

 

Last year the Scottish Government pledged just over £16,000 when the campaign first launched.

The fundraising campaign also received a major boost when two of Scotland’s leading entrepreneurs, Sir Tom Hunter and Lord Haughey donated £25,000 each.

In the past few months people responded in their hundreds to the appeal for I remember forms. And while people will able to listen to the I remember audio in Pollok Country Park accessed through a QR code, the book is something they will be ale to carry with them.

Mr Finlay said: “I think the book will become part of the artwork – it is the artwork. It’s the connection between the physical supports and audio.

“The audio will be available on site with the use of a QR code. The book, which will be a selection of I remembers, will be intrinsic to the artwork. The book can be a public work of art. For me it wasn’t like other memorial books I have worked on where there was a story to tell, this was deliberately about the experiences in the I remembers.

“It is the Scottish Covid Memorial made by the people of Scotland. The content isn’t defined by me, it is people’s memories.”

While not every I remember will feature, there are some which will draw people together or ones which people can identify with.

HeraldScotland: Covid memorial artist Alec FinlayCovid memorial artist Alec Finlay

HeraldScotland:

Mr Finlay added: “There are many common experiences. A lot of people wrote about not being able to see a loved one and common experiences which I think many people will be able to identify with.

“It is about the fact that someone cared enough to ask and to gather these memories. I feel it is a way of giving back and is about us being witness to an account. It is specific to that person which is what makes the book unique. Someone wrote about being in their garden in the early morning and while it might have been the traffic they would usually hear, it was the birdsong they could hear in lockdown and I think people can identify with that.”

During a three-month engagement and consultation project, I remember workshops were held with several groups and charities including Covid 19 Families Scotland; Paths for All; Lapidus Scotland; Long Covid Support Groups; Columba 1400 graduate community; Friends of Pollok Country Park; Marie Curie cancer charity; Life Changes Trust, and the Hidden Gardens.

“There was a real authenticity to the I remembers,” added Mr Finlay. “There was almost a naivety to them as they had no agenda. I wouldn’t have known all of the experiences so that’s why it was important to let go. It is the same with some of the designs for the tree supports – they were made out of physical poses from people.

“I’ve never made someone put an I remember together it has to come from then and when they have put pen to paper the most common response has been ‘thank you.’ People thank you for doing this and understanding and they feel we have listened to them.”

As well as I remembers featuring in the book, due to be released next Spring, others will buried at the Riverside Grove site and will be a lasting legacy of the project.

*I remember forms will still be collected and can be sent to iremember@yahoo.com