SCOTTISH victims who have died of HIV, Hepatitis C or related conditions in the wake of the NHS contaminated blood scandal are to be remembered with a lasting memorial.

Campaigners are launching the Contaminated Blood Memorial Fund appeal today to remember hundreds of people who have already lost their lives after being infected by blood products in the 1970s. Many more are seriously ill.

The launch coincides with a private memorial service today, where First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will address the congregation and pay her respects to the victims. Almost 500 people with bleeding disorder haemophilia were infected through contaminated blood products with Hepatitis C in Scotland, and 60 of them were also infected with HIV.

Nearly 200 people have died and many are struggling for survival with serious conditions as a result.

The memorial service marks the start of a nationwide fundraising appeal to raise the money needed for the memorial. Bereaved families will also be invited to get involved in the planning process of the memorial to ensure it reflects the feelings of those most affected by the scandal.

One woman, whose father was lost in the disaster, said: “My dad was infected with Hep C through his haemophilia treatment.

“He campaigned for years to help others get the financial support they so desperately needed. My dad died almost two years ago. Those like my dad need to be recognised and remembered for their brave fight and tragedy at losing their lives prematurely through this disaster.”

Bill Wright, chairman of Haemophilia Scotland, said the memorial service was about bereaved families sharing their sense of loss and finding they are not alone.

Patrick McGuire, a partner with Thompsons Solicitors, who represents many victims of the NHS infected blood scandal, encouraged the Scottish public to get behind the campaign for a memorial.

He said: “Victims of this tragedy have had to endure so much. It is only fitting this service is held and that funds are raised for a permanent memorial. This is the greatest scandal ever to befall the NHS and for years the victims were ignored.”

Donations can be made online at Texting CBME23 to 70070 will donate £10 to the fund.