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To: The Lord Provost, Aberdeen City Council

Stop the redesign and renaming of the Piper Alpha Memorial Garden

Stop the redesign and renaming of the Piper Alpha Memorial Garden

We, the undersigned, have strong concerns about the recently announced proposed redesign and rebranding of The Piper Alpha Memorial Gardens, Hazlehead Park, Aberdeen. We understand that the Gardens and Memorial are in the care of Aberdeen City Council. We request that Aberdeen City Council should reject the proposed redevelopment and that the Memorial and Gardens should be protected as a site of extreme cultural and historical significance. The Piper Alpha Memorial and Gardens should not be renamed as the North Sea Memorial Garden.

Why is this important?

The Piper Alpha Memorial Garden is hugely important to those affected by the Piper Alpha disaster and to the people of Aberdeen. After the Piper Alpha platform exploded on 6th July 1988, killing 167 men, families and survivors wanted to erect a memorial but faced many obstacles. They eventually got permission from Aberdeen City Council to site it in a new rose garden at Hazlehead Park and they asked the Council for 167 roses to be planted around the memorial. Raising funds was problematic and took a very long time. Of the 28 companies who lost men in the disaster, only 21 contributed, most sending donations of around £50, with one sending £2000. The families were left to source funding and also to contribute to it themselves. This took many months. The families of those who died and those who survived the disaster, fought long and hard for this monument and garden and helped to pay for it to be built.

The Pound for Piper Trust has proposed this redesign but has had no consultation with the families who were affected by the disaster, in spite of the fact that these plans appear to have been in progress for some years (confirmed in BBC news article, 19th May 2022).

Pound for Piper Trust is proposing that the redesigned garden should be rebranded as the ‘North Sea Memorial Garden’. We request that the Garden should not be renamed or rebranded as a generic monument and garden thereby removing the strong association of the space with the disaster. Since 1991, the whole space has been dedicated to the Piper Alpha disaster, and should remain so. The garden should therefore be officially recognised as the Piper Alpha Memorial Garden.

The Pound for Piper Trust stated in 2016, that it had received enough in donations to ‘support the upkeep of the memorial’ until 2036. (STV news item, 21 September 2016). The garden was completely overhauled less than ten years ago. We call on Aberdeen City Council to maintain the current garden in excellent condition rather than replace it with a design that includes a large concrete circle around the monument instead of the 167 roses that the families requested should surround it in the first place.

We urge you not to forget that the rose garden was designed by the garden genius David Welsh, who was responsible for Aberdeen’s many successes in Britain in Bloom competitions. Furthermore, the Piper Alpha Memorial Garden is a place of great significance to the families of those affected by the disaster and to the people of Aberdeen. As such, the Memorial and Garden should be protected from redevelopment and rebranding, for example by Listed or Scheduled status.

Aberdeen, UK

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Updates

2022-05-27 22:40:59 +0100

5,000 signatures reached

2022-05-20 22:48:37 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2022-05-20 08:11:48 +0100

500 signatures reached

2022-05-19 17:34:33 +0100

100 signatures reached

2022-05-19 15:46:18 +0100

50 signatures reached

2022-05-19 14:41:57 +0100

25 signatures reached

2022-05-19 13:55:07 +0100

10 signatures reached

2022-05-19 13:07:50 +0100

A copy of 'Piper Lines', the newsletter of the families and survivors, from circa 1989/1990, explaining how the families of the victims and survivors helped to pay for the cost of the Memorial and explaining the significance of the roses. https://gcdnb.pbrd.co/images/NxhQE3p3auoW.jpg

2022-05-19 12:59:44 +0100

Bob Ballantyne explains the significance of the Piper Alpha Memorial in this 1993 TV documentary extract. https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/711615488