ALPHA PIPER MEMORIAL ROSE GARDEN
Thousands of roses have been planted in Hazlehead Park's Piper Alpha memorial garden as part of a campaign to ensure the site flourishes for generations to come.
Aberdeen City Council is working with Oil & Gas UK and the Pound for Piper Trust to help improve and maintain what has become a poignant tribute to the 167 men who lost their lives in 1988 North Sea tragedy.
Council staff prepared the ground and planted the bulk of the 11,320 roses, which should be in full bloom in time for July, which will mark the 25th anniversary of the disaster.
The Pound for Piper Trust has gained the support of the oil and gas industry, with Oil & Gas UK member companies providing generous donations to cover around £140,000 of the total £150,000 cost of the refurbishment.
Aberdeen City Council is providing the remainder of the funding while carrying out the majority of the restoration work and maintaining the gardens.
Kerri Henderson, whose dad died in the Piper Alpha tragedy eight days before she was born, helped plant the final roses during a ceremony in the gardens on Tuesday [09 April]. She was joined by representatives from Aberdeen City Council, Pound for Piper Trust, Oil & Gas UK, Cockers Roses and Aberdeen Sea Cadets.
Councillor Neil Cooney, Convener of Aberdeen City Council's Housing and Environment Committee, said: "The memorial garden and statue is a very special place for Aberdeen citizens and the wider oil and gas industry, particularly for those whose lives have been affected by this tragedy. It is a place for quiet contemplation and reflection so it is therefore essential that it is attractive, well looked after and maintained to as high a standard as possible.
"Council staff already work hard on its upkeep but this additional support from the oil and gas community, both on and offshore, will bring a huge boost. We are extremely grateful for their generosity and hope we can continue to work together in meaningful ways so the memory of the victims of the Piper Alpha tragedy lives on."
Carol Banks, Pound for Piper Trust founder, said: "This is a momentous day for everyone who has worked hard to make it possible. Since we set up Pound for Piper, we've been overwhelmed by the support of the onshore and the offshore community as well as the oil and gas industry which has backed the Trust both financially and in spirit."
Geoff Holmes, CEO of Talisman Sinopec Energy UK Limited and a member of the Oil & Gas UK board added: "The industry's support for this campaign has been inspirational; it demonstrates how passionate we all are about ensuring we remember those who lost their lives. The incredible efforts of the Pound for Piper team mean that the much-loved and important memorial to Piper Alpha will thrive for many years to come."
Some 10,200 hybrid tea and floribunda roses (58 varieties) have been planted along with 599 ground cover roses, 171 hybrid musk roses and 350 rugosa roses.
The planting plan is designed to provide a good contrast of colour and height and was drawn up by Cockers Roses and Aberdeen City Council officers.
Other work will include rejuvenating grass areas, treatment of the perimeter hedging and trees to allow light and nutrients to the flower beds, maintenance of the benches, cleaning of the memorial and renewal of the lettering on the memorial plaque
Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.