I remember, Scotland’s Covid Memorial has been created in collaboration with the people of Scotland sharing their experiences of the pandemic and offers anyone affected by the pandemic a place for remembrance and reflection and for hope and healing.

Since March 2020, more than 12,000 people have lost their lives to Covid in Scotland and sadly there is still further pain and suffering. Many have lost friends, loved ones, colleagues or have themselves been affected by the ongoing impact of Long Covid.

Recognising that the pandemic has touched everyone’s lives, The Herald asked ‘how do we remember this unprecedented time'?

In Spring 2020, The Herald established a public fund to create Scotland's Covid Memorial and Glasgow City Council offered Pollok Country Park to be its home. A Memorial Steering Group was set up to work with partners. greenspace scotland joined the group and managed the artist commission. The artist and poet Alec Finlay, was commissioned to design and to create Scotland’s Covid memorial. 

The public fund raised over £240,000 with generous contributions from bereaved families and those who have been affected by the pandemic. It saw people take on mountain challenges and Kiltwalks to help raise funds and further donations were received from the Scottish Government, Transport Scotland, The Hunter Foundation, City Charitable Trust, The Watson Foundation, Freemasons of Glasgow and the Harry Clarke Group of companies

I remember is conceived as a memorial walk through Pollok Country Park, by way of forty oak artworks. Most of the artworks are by or close to paths or surfaced roads. The artworks are inspired by human poses of support. Each design refers to a photograph by Hannah Laycock or Alec, of someone affected by the pandemic, including bereaved families and people with Long Covid. The oak tree supports, which were made by Alistair Letch, each bear the phrase I remember in English or one of Scotland’s other languages.

The first phase, The Riverside and Birch Groves, was formally opened on 27 May 2022 and the final artwork will be completed for the National Day of Remembrance in March 2023.

Speaking at the opening of the memorial, Donald Swinney, Deputy First Minister said:

"The wooden structures Alec has created are there to epitomise solidarity and support. The fact that that solidarity and support has been established here in the beautiful tranquility of Pollok Park is another essential part of our remembrance about Covid. Because our parks, our greenspaces, our natural environment, became so precious to all of us during Covid. 

"They gave us a place in which we could breathe fresh air and a place where we could be at peace. I hope this memorial becomes a place of peace where individuals can try to come to terms with their loss in the most beautiful and tranquil surroundings." 

The newly installed Glasgow Lord Provost Jacqueline McLaren said she hoped the ceremony would bring some comfort and solace.

The artwork in Pollok Country Park is accompanied by a book of remembrance, illustrated by the artist Alec, with brush and ink paintings of some of the contributions. Hundreds of people from across Scotland – healthcare workers, care home staff, bereaved families, people with Long Covid – have contributed their memories, The original artworks were buried in the Riverside Grove on March 14, 2022, I remember recognises the pandemic as an ongoing event and a digital record is being archived by the National Library of Scotland where, in due course, it can be consulted on request. You can contribute your own ‘I remember’ using the invitation on the I-Remember website.

Produced in both book and audio format, the I remember audiobook was released on March 23, the second National Day of Remembrance. It features a selection of ‘I remember’ contributions edited by Alec Finlay, read by Robert Carlyle, with sound design by Chris Watson – listen to the audiobook. It is available to listen to or download on bandcamp or via QR-code in the park using a smartphone. The book can be ordered here and the discount code: greenspace2022, gives a third off the price of the book.

It is possible to arrange a memorial planting of wildflowers as a remembrance of loved ones with the help of the park staff by messaging them on the wildflower planting Facebook page. Seeds have been collected in the park and can be planted at locations selected by the park staff.

With the support of greenspace scotland, Alec hopes to install further supports at satellite venues across Scotland. Pending available funding communities and venues will be able to apply to host one of these.

Visit the I Remember website