A COMMUNITY leader has opened up on his experience with Covid-19 and the pain of losing his father as he launched a campaign to commemorate the victims of the pandemic.

Reverend Brian Casey, minister at Springburn Parish Church revealed that he has twice battled the deadly bug and spoke about the devastating loss of his dad Jim in November last year.

Glasgow Times:

Brian will tie a purple ribbon to the church’s fence in memory of victims of Covid-19 and asked others to do the same, in the absence of the normally busy Easter Sunday service.

He said: “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.”

Glasgow Times:

Jim was admitted to hospital a week before he died and Brian and his mother Wilma were able to visit him in before his death. “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.”

Brian has first-hand experience of the virus and has battled the deadly bug more than once.

He said: “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.”

At the time of his father’s death, Brian was virus-free, as was Jim, so he was able to visit in the hospital during his dad’s last week.

Locals are encouraged to show up from Easter Sunday, between the times of 10am and 2pm to tie a purple ribbon at the church, with cards provided to leave a message or note commemorating friends or loved ones who were sadly taken by Covid-19. Attendees are advised to bring their own pens or pencils for hygiene reasons.

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

Brian said he conducted around 280 funerals between March and November last year.

“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 said.

“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.”