Scotland's Covid memorial opens with emotional ceremony

The first phase of Scotland's Covid memorial was officially opened on Friday.

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Families who have lost loved ones to Covid met at Glasgow’s Pollok Country Park on Friday to gather for the first phase of opening of a new memorial garden.

The newly created Riverside Grove space was created to provide people with a place to reflect and remember those who were lost during the pandemic.

Artist Alec Finlay created a series of oak tree supports in the park which form a memorial walk, and offer people affected by the pandemic a vital space for reflection.

It was opened on Friday, May 27 by Deputy First Minister John Swinney in absence of the First Minister who is currently recovering from the illness.

He joined bereaved families and friends who have lost loved ones in the unprecedented period which has affected all lives to officially open the memorial at an emotional ceremony.

Swinney laid a wreath in memory of those lost during the pandemic at one of the supports at the Riverside Grove location.

There was also a poignant silent memorial walk to the second location, Birch Grove, led by Connie McCready, Peter McMahon and Carolyn Murdoch.

Ms Murdoch, a member of the Covid-19 Families Scotland support group said: “It’s a place for us to come and to remember, because a lot of us don’t have anywhere to go and I think it will be lovely and it’s because as a group now, we’ve met friends and people who understand exactly what it was like to go through what we went through at that particular time.”

Mr McMahon added: “It was good to actually just see it come to life and to see the sculptures that mean so much to us in the group, to actually be in a place that we can all come and visit and kind of reflect and gather our thoughts.”

Ms McCready said: “This isn’t just for Covid victims. This is for everybody, for the pandemic. It’s for anybody that wants to come along.”

Artist Alec Finlay said: “It’s just very moving to be with people who have lost loved ones, to be with people with long Covid and to feel that we all made this memorial together.”

The project was funded by generous donors, the public, and the Scottish Government following a campaign initiated and led by the Herald newspaper.