Workers’ memorial to feature in River Ness arts project

A Workers’ Memorial is to be created and located on the west side of the River Ness as an important feature of the River Connections public art project being promoted in Inverness city centre.

The Highland Council’s Inverness City Arts Project is matching the £5,000 being raised by the Inverness and District Trades Union Council for a sculpture to commemorate workers who have died or have been injured in the workplace.

A location and gathering place at the Friar’s Shott, near Wells Street, has been identified for the memorial, which will bear the simple message: Remember the Dead: Fight for the Living, including a Gaelic translation.

Councillor Ken Gowans, Chair of ICarts, Councillor Fraser Parr, representing Inverness and District Trades Union Council and Councillor Richard Laird, Chair of the Council’s Joint Consultation Group (Administration/Manual and Crafts Workers), met on site earlier this week to discuss the project. The partners will be seeking ideas from a number of artists before choosing the design of the sculpture or feature that bears the memorial message.

Councillor Gowans said: “The Friar’s Shott is a key element of River Ness Arts Project and I am delighted to announce this funding and partnership with the Trades Union Council to incorporate the Workers’ Memorial in the scheme. The memorial will become a landmark on the river that will provide a dignified focal point and gathering place that will enable people to pay their respects to the fallen. It is right the River Ness Artworks reflect the feelings of the ordinary folk and I am privileged to be in a position to help by tying it into the other art projects for the river. Credit must go to Councillor Parr for initiating this memorial.”

Councillor Parr said: “The purpose of the memorial is to provide a peaceful space for relatives, friends and colleagues to use, in remembering those whose lives have been tragically lost in the course of their work – whether in emergency, or routine circumstances.

“This would include for example, the oil industry, engineering, construction, agriculture, sawmills, fishing, transport and various emergency services including Fire and Rescue, lifeboat and ambulance crews and the police while answering a call in the line of duty. Our first service was held during the week of the Bangladesh tragedy, with the anniversary of the Piper Alpha just past and the recent helicopter catastrophe south of Shetland.

“Many communities, abroad and throughout the U.K. already support such dedicated workers’ memorials, providing a focus for remembrance on International Workers’ Memorial Day, which is marked on the 28th April and is supported by the U.K. and Scottish Government, local authorities and others worldwide.

“The Council has been very supportive and very generous indeed and we are determined that the end result will be a real credit to the highlands as a whole and a memorial of international significance. It will also be to my knowledge the only one in Gaelic and English.”

Inverness City Arts is making progress with the implementation of the public arts programme, which is associated with the River Ness Flood Alleviation and Streetscape Programme.

13 Feb 2014
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