From little acorns, great oaks grow. That has proven the case with The Herald’s campaign to provide a memorial garden to mark the pandemic, which has come to fruition and was officially opened yesterday by the Deputy First Minister, John Swinney.
Entitled I remember: Scotland’s Covid Memorial, it is intended to provide a place of remembrance and reflection, as well as somewhere that offers solace to those who lost loved ones, and to commemorate the sacrifices and efforts made by so many during what has been one of the most difficult periods in recent times.
This first phase of this beautiful and dignified landmark, the Riverside Grove, is the work of the artist Alec Finlay, and was supported by generous donations, large and small, raising almost £250,000. It is the most significant national memorial in decades.
Enormous thanks are due to all of those whose efforts have led to its realisation, which also includes the families whose moving testimonials are a crucial component of the memorial, and Glasgow City Council, which offered the use of a beautiful site in Pollok Park.
The tree-lined groves and walks there will provide what Donald Martin, editor of The Herald, described as “quiet places to reflect and to remember”. The First Minister, who was unable to attend the ceremony yesterday as she shakes off Covid, sent a message calling it “a place of comfort”. As well as tree supports with I remember motifs and messages in several languages, audio testimonials have allowed the people of Scotland to share their stories of this uniquely challenging period.
This moving and enduring tribute owes its existence to those individuals, charities, public bodies and companies who responded so generously to this newspaper’s appeal. We are profoundly grateful to all involved, and hope this memorial will continue to provide a lasting site of contemplation, commemoration and comfort.