Springburn church in Easter Sunday ribbon memorial for Covid-19 lives lost

Purple ribbons in memory of people who have died will be tied to a fence outside Springburn Parish Church on Easter Sunday
Rev Brian Casey of Springburn ChurchRev Brian Casey of Springburn Church
Rev Brian Casey of Springburn Church

The memorial honours all those in the parish who lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister, Rev Brian Casey, said he would be tying a ribbon in memory of his beloved father, Jim, who passed away last November at the age of 82.

The strips are about a foot long with a card attached for personal messages and people will be able to tie them to the fence between 10am and 2pm.

Rev Brian Casey with his late father, JimRev Brian Casey with his late father, Jim
Rev Brian Casey with his late father, Jim

They will each be given a white rose, a sign of respect and remembrance for their loved one.

Mr Casey said he conducted around 280 funerals between March and November last year and his personal loss means he understands more keenly than ever why a public expression of grief is needed.

“We normally have a service in the church building on Easter Sunday at 3pm to remember people who have died and their names are read out,” he explained.

“It is usually very well attended but it is not possible this year due to COVID-19 restrictions so I decided to do something different but equally important.

“The traditional colour for mourning is purple and I decided that we needed to make a space for people to express their grief publicly and show just how badly affected our community has been.

"The Church has stepped up during this crisis and provided comfort under the constraints of social distancing by walking alongside people, whether they are believers or not.

“By tying ribbons to the fence, we are saying that each one represents a tragedy for a family and we are all grieving together."

Mr Casey said his father did not test positive for COVID-19 before he died but lockdown restrictions meant that he did not see him in person for around eight months.

“My parents live in High Bonnybridge near Falkirk and I could not visit them without a reasonable excuse,” he added.

“My congregation has been very active over the last year, supporting vulnerable people who have either lost their jobs or shielding at home and I came into contact with a lot of people.

“I have had COVID-19 twice which was horrendous, at one point I thought I was going to die and the last thing I wanted to do was give it to my elderly parents.

“I was close to my dad, he was a kind, caring man who had an incredible sense of humour and made people laugh.

“He was blind in one eye and became very frail during the lockdown because he was scared to leave the house.”

Mr Casey said his father, who grew up in the village of Fallin near Stirling, was admitted to Forth Valley Hospital in Larbert and he and his mum, Wilma, were able to spend time by his bedside for a week before he died.

“Even though dad was unconscious, I was lucky that I got to do that because people who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 couldn’t," he added.

“I can only imagine the pain, anger and upset they are going through and that is why, for me, the purple ribbons symbolise unity and solidarity."

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