Grieving partner who lost her fiance to Covid-19 supports Kiltwalk in aid of memorial garden

CONNIE McCready made it to the top of Conic Hill for the first time last weekend and took in the views over Loch Lomond. While it was a hike she had wanted to do for some time, she never imagined she wouldn’t be sharing the joy with her fiance Jim Russell. As the six month anniversary approaches since Mr Russell was diagnosed with Covid-19, Ms McCready is still at a loss without him.

The Glasgow truck driver lost his battle with the virus after five weeks in hospital. He died on May 4. Now Ms McCready is trying to focus on helping and reaching out to people while trying to cope with her own grief.

It is why she will be supporting the Virtual Kiltwalk in aid of The Herald memorial garden campaign. Yesterday we revealed the fantastic link up which means you can sign up for the Virtual Kiltwalk which takes place between Friday September 11 to Sunday 13 to raise funds for the campaign. Any money you raise for this worthy cause will be topped up by 50% by entrepreneur and Kiltwalk supporter Sir Tom Hunter through The Hunter Foundation.

You can hop, skip, jump, walk or run – you choose. Read more: Kiltwalk joins forces with Herald memorial garden campaign for Covid victims Ms McCready was one of the first people to back our garden of remembrance campaign shortly after it launched and now she will be doing what she can to raise funds through the virtual weekend.

Ms McCready said: “I think is a great idea. I will be reunited with my daughter that weekend in London, but we can do something wherever we are. We could cross a London landmark to raise money.

I really hope people sign up for the Kiltwalk wherever they are or whatever they can do to help as I think the memorial garden will be somewhere which will provide a lot of comfort.” Six months ago Ms McCready, 46, had been planning her wedding to Mr Russell as they had been due to be married in June. However on March 21 Mr Russell, 51, complained of feeling unwell and just thought he had caught a cold.

His symptoms became worse and he was taken to hospital in Glasgow and later transferred to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for specialist oxygen treatment. He died in May leaving his family and partner devastated. “I think I am still trying to process it all.

I am still grieving.

16 weeks have now passed since we lost him and sometimes it seems no time at all. “I climbed Conic Hill, at Balmaha, and while it was something I had wanted to do, it just seemed strange without Jim,” said Ms McCready. “I have lost people before, including my mother and brother, so I know what grief is like. Losing my partner and in lockdown I think as been far harder.

You just want the comfort of your family and friends. I feel I still need a cuddle – that is the thing I miss.” While some lockdown restrictions have eased and people can enjoy a pint or meal out again, Ms McCready is naturally being careful.

She added: “I have been out a couple of times, but keep myself at a distance. I know Jim would not have wanted to see me not getting out so I go for walks and try to get out when I can.” Every year tens of thousands of people take part in Kiltwalks up and down the country and with restrictions in place on mass gatherings in Scotland it was decided to look at a virtual event.

There are many charities people can support as well as signing up for The Herald memorial garden campaign. Read more: Herald memorial garden fundraiser for Scotland’s victims of Covid-19 With the help of readers, the public, and generous donations we have raised more than GBP20,000 towards our fundraising target of GBP50,000 to create a fitting memorial.

We have set up a dedicated GoFundMe page to help us reach our goal and help us build a memorial as a tribute to every Scot who has died from Covid-19. The campaign has been offered Pollok Country Park as the location for the memorial by Glasgow City Council leaders which is one place you could take a stroll in aid of the Kiltwalk. All you need to do is register on the Kiltwalk website and select your chosen cause as The Herald memorial garden campaign in the drop down options.

To sign up to the Kiltwalk in aid of The Herald memorial garden visit www.thekiltwalk.co.uk. To donate go to: gofundme.com/herald-garden-of-remembrance. Donations can be posted to The Herald Garden of Remembrance Campaign, Herald & Times, 125 Fullarton Drive, Glasgow G32 8FG.

With cheques made payable to The Herald.

If you would like to help, send an email to: memorialgarden@theherald.co.uk

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