"They are not portraits, but you can see the person in there”,’ was how Covid Memorial artist Alec Finlay described supports as they were being installed.

As work continued to complete I Remember: Scotland’s Covid Memorial in the grounds of Pollok Country Park, Glasgow’, Mr Finlay took a step back and was visibly moved as he remembered the people who had helped to create the memorial.
“I call this the Ginger Hair Embrace,” he said. “It was more than a year ago that a woman made the pose in the Hidden Gardens in Glasgow. I remembered her and it was a very moving pose. As we have come to install the remaining supports, it has been emotional to think of those who were involved.”

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Along with Pollok Country Park gardeners, Mr Finlay and his team of Alastair Letch and Kate McAllan 
have been working on the memorial, which will be finished by the third anniversary of the first national lockdown in March.

HeraldScotland: Scotland's Covid Memorial is taking shape in Pollok Country ParkScotland's Covid Memorial is taking shape in Pollok Country Park (Image: Newsquest)
A total of 40 supports will form a memorial walk throughout the park and are linked to audio of I Remember passages that were recorded by actor Robert Carlyle and which are accessible from QR codes on supports.
“I feel we are fulfilling the visionI had. It is a bit strange when you have a vision. You don’t realise what it will feel like in real life,” added Mr Finlay.
“The scale of the supports seem right to me and when you encounter them, they don’t dominate the park. Some are very visible close to Pollok House and along the Ash Road, but some are hidden, which people will have to discover for themselves. We have added one to the historic beggars’ tree where people would have waited for something from the laird.”

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The Herald initiated and led the campaign to create Scotland’s Covid memorial. A public fund was set up following an initial £5,000 donation from a company in memory of Jim Russell, from Glasgow, who died from Covid in May 2020. 

HeraldScotland: Memorial supports have been placed on Ash Road. Photo by Colin Mearns.Memorial supports have been placed on Ash Road. Photo by Colin Mearns. (Image: Newsquest)
Glasgow City Council stepped forward with the offer of a home for the memorial in Pollok Country Park and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon backed the campaign, saying it would ensure a “fitting and lasting tributes to every life lost to Covod-19 and other illnesses during the pandemic”.
Working with our partners greenspace Scotland, a charity and social enterprise that promotes green networks and spaces, an advisory panel was set up that recommended the appointment of artist and poet Mr Finlay, who has been working on the project while coping with long Covid, which can leave him feeling debilitated.
In May last year, we opened the first phase of the memorial, a series of tree supports that form a memorial walk.
It was attended by Deputy First Minister John Swinney, who reflected in his remarks at the opening of the National Covid Memorial, saying the concept of the memorial “will help us through the recovery.”
The project, costing close to £250,000, involved collecting people’s memories of the pandemic through I Remember sentences. They were recorded in a book with passages also read by Carlyle for the online audio book.

HeraldScotland: Scotland's Covid Memorial in Pollok Country Park is a series of supports. Photo by Colin Mearns.Scotland's Covid Memorial in Pollok Country Park is a series of supports. Photo by Colin Mearns. (Image: Newsquest)
As well as the Riverside Grove, the first phase of the memorial to open, supports have been installed at the Birch Grove and connected by a series of them along Ash Road.
Two striking supports have been placed at the avenue of trees close to Pollok House. One support is engraved with I Remember, while the other is in Gaelic, tha cuimhne agam.
I Remember appears on the supports in several languages to reflect the communities and nationalities affected by the pandemic. Arabic, Vietnamese and Hebrew have been added to the latest supports.
“Set off from the road is a support I call the crutch, and it was a midwife who created the pose during an open day in the park and I always remembered her. There is also a single piece between to tree stumps and that represents a lady who was bereaved and said to me she simply felt broken,” Mr Finlay added.
“While most of the supports are based on people, there are three at the Birch Grove that stem from figures in the work of artist Piero della Francesca. There is a different, quieter feeling when you are there and the supports seemed appropriate – revelation and praying.
“The supports will all be installed by March, when we will be able to gather once again to recognise the third anniversary.”
The Herald campaign, which has been nominated for Campaign 
Of The Year in the UK Regional Press Awards, received generous donations from the Scottish Government, The Hunter Foundation, City Charitable Trust, The Watson Foundation, and the Freemasons 
of Glasgow.