THE campaign to create a fitting memorial as a tribute to every Scot who lost their life during the pandemic has reached its fundraising target.

Thanks to the generosity of people up and down the country, we have hit our target to be able to create the National Covid Memorial.

Initiated and led by The Herald, the campaign set out to create a place for people to remember loved ones and spaces for quiet contemplation. This will now become a reality.

Read more: Scotland's Covid Memorial: How public support and fundraising challenges helped to reach campaign target

I remember: Scotland’s Covid Memorial, in Glasgow’s Pollok Country Park, is the most significant public memorial in Scotland for decades, and is the perfect place to remember and reflect on the unprecedented events of the past two years.

And it is thanks to every single one of our donors – from Herald readers and members of the public who took on challenges, to businesses getting behind us, along with donations from some of Scotland’s leading entrepreneurs – that we have been able to do this.

We also received a generous donation of £42,000 from the Scottish Government, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon supporting the memorial campaign.

HeraldScotland: Work is already under way in Pollok Country Park to create the memorialWork is already under way in Pollok Country Park to create the memorial
Now The Herald is pleased to announce that two years on since it launched the campaign to create a memorial, while still in the midst of the pandemic, that we have now fully funded the £240,000 project.

Donald Martin, Editor of The Herald, said: “Thanks to the generosity of the public and all our partners, Scotland now has a fitting memorial for those affected by Covid. The work, commitment, and support of everyone involved in the project has helped create a wonderful space for people to quietly remember and reflect. I hope it provides much-needed comfort during these difficult times.”

Ms Sturgeon congratulated everyone involved in reaching this significant milestone.

She said: “The heartbreak and loss the nation has suffered throughout the past two years as a result of coronavirus is not something any of us will ever forget.  

“The Herald Covid Memorial will offer a dedicated space to remember loved ones no longer with us, to reflect on the sacrifices made to protect ourselves and others, and to celebrate the ways in which communities pulled together through one of the most difficult periods of recent history.  

“A lot of hard work and effort has gone into reaching this fundraising milestone and making the memorial a reality. My congratulations and thanks to all of those involved.”

HeraldScotland: Covid memorial artist Alec Finlay's vision will become a realityCovid memorial artist Alec Finlay's vision will become a reality
Work is already under way in the park and reaching the funding target will allow us to complete the project. It was the vision of our artist Alec Finlay to create a peaceful and tranquil memorial walk through the park through a series of tree supports and special places known as groves.

The key motif of I remember is carved on the supports in several languages and links to a project which saw Mr Finlay reach out to people to record a communal memory of the pandemic.

 

HeraldScotland: Lauren McAdam who lost her father Bryce to Covid plans to visit the memorial with baby daughter MirrenLauren McAdam who lost her father Bryce to Covid plans to visit the memorial with baby daughter Mirren
He received hundreds of I remember passages, including heart-breaking and emotional ones, while some reflected lighter moments in the pandemic. They have become an integral part of the memorial, with moving audio recorded by actor Robert Carlyle, which is accessible at locations in the park.
Early on in the campaign, Glasgow City Council stepped forward with the offer of Pollok Country Park as the home for the memorial. The council came on board as partners and we have also been supported by social enterprise and charity greenspace Scotland. A memorial Steering Group was set up to help lead and guide the project.
George Gillespie, Executive Director for Glasgow City Council, said: “Reaching the funding target for the memorial is a fantastic achievement.
“It’s hard to believe that Covid has been with us for more than two years and I think we are all still coming to terms with the impact of the pandemic.
“Work on creating the memorial at Pollok Country Park is well under way and I am sure it will become a place of great comfort for those who have been bereaved.”
Last year, entrepreneurs Sir Tom Hunter and Lord Willie Haughey helped the fundraising a campaign reach the half-way target with donations of £25,000 each.
Sir Tom said: “This is a fitting tribute to those who lost their lives to Covid and underscores the generosity of the Scottish people as we all remember the horror that malevolent force visited upon us. It’s important we never forget.”

HeraldScotland: Margaret Waterton with her friend Margaret Baird were among our campaign fundraisersMargaret Waterton with her friend Margaret Baird were among our campaign fundraisers
Meanwhile, Lord Haughey said the City Charitable Trust is absolutely delighted to play a small part in the creation of the memorial.
One of the memorial’s benefactors, John Watson OBE, applauded The Herald for having such vision to lead the campaign. Mr Watson, who donated £10,000 through The Watson Foundation, said: “This is a landmark achievement, which is remarkable not just for its importance but also for the pace with which it has been accomplished.
“Undoubtedly, the concept of a place of peace, reflection, and contemplation as we remember those who were deeply loved and tragically lost through Covid harnessed the public mood perfectly. 
“I applaud The Herald for having the vision to create such a memorial and for everyone whose contributions have made it a reality.”
Richard Clarke, managing director of Hillington-based Harry Clarke Group of companies, helped to kickstart the public fund. 
The firm donated of £5,000 in memory of a close friend of director Mark Lammey. Jim Russell, 51, died from Covid on May 4, 2020, leaving behind devastated fiancée Connie McCready.
Mr Clarke said: “When my father-in-law Ally McLaws suggested that we kickstart the funding of the Herald Memorial I was delighted to do so in the memory of Jim Russell. 
“Little did we know at the time how far reaching and devastating the pandemic would become. Indeed, last year Ally himself passed through Covid following a long battle with cancer. I am proud to be associated with such a deserving memorial which is something the proud people of Glasgow have worked so hard to create.”

HeraldScotland: Sir Tom Hunter donated £25,000 towards the campaignSir Tom Hunter donated £25,000 towards the campaign
Mr Clarke’s involvement led to Mr Russell’s fiancé Ms McCready becoming linked with the memorial campaign. 
She has been a massive supporter and has helped to spread awareness through the support group she set up Covid-19 Families Scotland.
Ms McCready said: “Everyone has been affected by the past two years whether they have lost someone, like me, or have been impacted in another way. 
“Many people haven’t had a place to go to remember a loved one and the memorial will be a somewhere to reflect.”

HeraldScotland: Lord Willie Haughey showed his support and donated £25,000Lord Willie Haughey showed his support and donated £25,000
The Freemasons of Glasgow generously supported the campaign, donating £10,000.
Andrew Mushet, the Provincial Grand Master of Glasgow, said the call for donations resonated with the charitable heart and ethos of the Freemasons of Glasgow who considered the idea a most worthy cause and without hesitation contributed to the seed corn funding of the project.
He added: “It is now most heart-warming to see the memorial come to fruition and being fully funded by many generous people throughout the city and beyond. 
“It is a privilege for the Freemasons of Glasgow to have served the community in which we operate by donating to the Herald’s appeal and to have been a small part of the journey to Pollok Country Park.”

HeraldScotland: A series of oak tree supports will form a memorial walk in the parkA series of oak tree supports will form a memorial walk in the park
Julie Procter, chief executive of greenspace Scotland, said the pandemic showed that parks and outdoor spaces were more important than ever and when they were asked to become involved, it felt right that the memorial would be in one of Scotland’s parks.
Mrs Procter said: “So many people and organisations have been involved in developing the memorial, from sharing personal experiences with I remembers, to practical and technical support to realise the artwork and planting in the park, and individual donations, that it really feels the project has reached out to connect with people across Scotland.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to work on the Covid Memorial. It is a collective memory and remembrance for all who have lost loved ones and been affected by Covid. 
“We hope the artwork and the tranquil space at Pollok Park helps us all find hope and healing.”