A DESCRIPTION in one of the first National Trust for Scotland guidebooks in the 1930s said its role was to act as the guardian of Scotland’s memories.

Now, more than 90 years later, that ethos is as important today as the conservation and heritage charity is supporting Scotland’s Covid memorial.

The Herald is leading a campaign to create a fitting memorial in the grounds of Pollok Country Park and it hoped Pollok House, run by the NTS, will be a key location where people might discover the memorial.

Glasgow City Council generously offered the park as the location of the proposed memorial shortly after we launched the campaign in 2020.

Our memorial artist Alec Finlay has come up with a concept that would involve significant memorial sites in Pollok Country Park – the Riverside Grove, Beech Grove, Hillside Grove and Birch Grove.

HeraldScotland: Covid memorial artist Alec Finlay at Pollok HouseCovid memorial artist Alec Finlay at Pollok House

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Central to the design are tree supports created from physical poses, which will be placed at key points and throughout the park to create the idea of a memorial walk.

We have also collected people’s memories of the pandemic through the “I remember” project – a single sentence of someone’s experience or loss.

There will be around 50 supports throughout the park and a key location for one will be close to where a crab apple tree lies near Pollok House.

Samuel Gallacher, NTS operations manager for Glasgow & Ben Lomond, said the concept of the I remember: Scotland’s Covid memorial was one that reflected the surroundings of Pollok Country Park and the close link with Pollok House and its gardens.

“I think that sense of solidarity and having something in common is a really important consequence of the pandemic,” said Mr Gallacher.

“We are always looking at how we can get people to connect with beautiful places like Pollok House and gardens and celebrate its history and heritage. I think the memorial concept fits in with what we do.”

HeraldScotland: The Riverside Grove will be a focal point of the Covid memorialThe Riverside Grove will be a focal point of the Covid memorial

Artist Mr Finlay met expert gardeners from the NTS to look at where supports could be added.

“We have a very old crab apple at the front of the house and it is in a location that people might stop and discover the house for the first time,” added Mr Gallacher.

“It could be the support that leads them to other supports as part of the memorial and it is important for us that we are part of that.”

The old Pollok estate was gifted to the people of Glasgow in the 1960s by the Maxwell family, and the National Trust for Scotland now leases the house.

There are further connections because Mr Finlay is related to the Maxwell family.The grounds and house were donated in 1966 by Mrs Anne Maxwell Macdonald, Mr Finlay's great aunt, with the condition that it remain a public park.

It was Sir John Stirling Maxwell at the Trust’s first AGM who said: “The National Trust for Scotland serves the nation as a cabinet into which it can put some of its valuable things, where they will be perfectly safe for all time, and where they are open to be seen and enjoyed by everyone.”

Spoken a year after the organisation’s founding in May 1931, he articulated the aim to safeguard Scotland’s cultural and natural treasures for the benefit of the nation.

HeraldScotland: How to donate to the Covid memorial fundHow to donate to the Covid memorial fund

During various lockdown stages care and maintenance of Pollok House and its beautiful gardens still had to carried out and at one point an army of volunteers were helping.

From tidying grounds and wielding paint brushes they took care to ensure visitors were able to enjoy the grounds when restrictions were relaxed.

Mr Gallacher added: “I think what we learned during the pandemic was being able to continually adapt. I think we are in a position now where we feel we can operate comfortably and deliver a safe and valuable experience.”

Just before Christmas The Herald campaign received a massive boost when Sir Tom Hunter and Lord Willie Haughey donated the fantastic sum of £25,000 each.

Those significant donations have catapulted our funds raised so far over the halfway mark. Thanks to their pledges we have now raised £136,000 towards our £233,500 target.

We also received support from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and a pledge of a further £25,000 from the Scottish Government after its initial donation of just over £16,000.