A Perth man is preparing a candlelit vigil this summer to mark the losses suffered by people around Perthshire over the past 12 months.
University of Highlands and Islands librarian and board member John Dare lost his wife Mary, a former care officer, after she suffered a stroke in January. But he was unable to visit her in hospital.
While planning a vigil in her memory for later this summer, once restrictions are lifted, John began considering a wider moment of reflection.
As well as a commemorative ceremony, the 53-year-old also hopes to create a permanent memorial or statue to honour all of those who lost their lives in the last year.
“My family and I are planning on doing something for my wife in July,” he said.
“We thought so many people will have gone through different versions of the same thing.
“A candlelit vigil was the initial idea and there has been talk of a permanent monument.”
He said: “There should be something to commemorate everything and everyone people have lost. For people who have been unable to attend funerals and who have missed important landmarks.
“At the start of the restrictions, I did remark that everyone will know someone whose life will be turned upside down as a result of this, not realising that it would hit so close to home.”
He said: “Not just for those that have been lost due to Covid-19, but everyone who has lost someone during this time and has been unable to properly give them the send-off they deserve due to the restrictions.
“Hopefully we will be able to have our day for the heartbroken.”
Looking for support
John emailed all of Perth and Kinross Council’s councillors to look for backing in his campaign.
He has received support and is now in talks to find a location for the event. He would also be interested in hearing from anyone who would like to get involved in the project.
SNP group leader Grant Laing explained that £40,000 had been put aside for a monument in the SNP’s proposed budget which was recently rejected.
However, council chiefs say they will still “consider” plans post-pandemic.
A Perth and Kinross Council spokesman said: “We know how much of an impact coronavirus has had on our communities and across the country.
“Our Lost/Found project launched in November to remember those who have lost their lives and support those who are grieving. Families have been telling the stories of the people they loved and lost and working with professional artists to create memorials to them.
“These will be exhibited later in 2021, depending on coronavirus restrictions, before it tours around the rest of Perth and Kinross. Bereaved families are still getting in touch and adding to the memorial.
“Additionally, Culture Perth and Kinross is creating a Covid-19 archive collection to reflect how people and communities have been affected by the pandemic.
“We will consider a permanent memorial when the pandemic is over.”
Anyone keen to support John should contact him via Facebook.
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