The Piper Alpha tragedy, which saw 167 men lose their lives, was 30 years ago yet the events of that night are just as shocking today, three decades on. It will forever be imprinted in the memories of the people of Aberdeen.
Final preparations have been put in place in the Piper Alpha Memorial Garden in Aberdeen’s Hazlehead Park ahead of a special service tomorrow (7pm on Friday 6 July) to commemorate the 30th anniversary.
Aberdeen City Council, with the support of the Pound for Piper Trust, has installed new benches and refreshed the garden in readiness for the service.
The Act of Remembrance has been organised by Reverend Gordon Craig, Chaplain to the Oil & Gas Industry of the United Kingdom.
Reverend Craig will lead the service for families, friends and representatives from industry in honour of the 167 men who tragically lost their lives in the Piper Alpha disaster.
It will be a very sad and humbling occasion, but we must never forget the men who died – dads, sons, brothers, uncles, nephews, partners, friends and colleagues who never returned home.
That is why it is so important that the City of Aberdeen and industry come together for this Act of Remembrance. And, by doing so, I hope that those affected will know that our thoughts are with them at this time and forever.
The memorial garden, which includes the Piper Alpha memorial statute, is a very special place for the people of Aberdeen, the wider oil and gas industry, and particularly for those whose lives have been affected by this tragedy.
To enable those offshore or unable to attend the Act of Remembrance the service will be broadcast live on Facebook @TheUkOilGasChaplaincy
The order of service is:
- Bon Accord Silver Band starts playing at 6.30pm
- Rev Craig will begin proceedings at 7pm
- Industry representatives will begin the roll-call of those who lost their lives
- A lone piper will play a lament followed by a minute’s silence
- Wreaths will then be laid by the Lord Provost on behalf of the City of Aberdeen, Oil & Gas UK Chief Executive Deirdre Michie on behalf of the industry, and Steve Rae, one of the trustees from the Pound for Piper Trust, which provides funding to help the city council maintain the Memorial Garden
- Families, friends, colleagues and well-wishers will then be invited to lay flowers or wreaths
- Light refreshments will be available in Hazlehead Park Café, from 6pm onwards, courtesy of the Pound for Piper Trust.
All are welcome to attend.
While the Act of Remembrance is the key event marking the anniversary of the disaster there are other opportunities for those wanting to reflect and pay their respects. These are:
Oil Chapel at the Kirk of St Nicholas Uniting
The Oil Chapel at the Kirk of St Nicholas Uniting in Aberdeen will open on 6 July between 12 noon and 4pm where people can visit to view the original Book of Remembrance or light a candle;
Rev Craig will conduct ‘Daily Prayers’ that day in the Kirk starting at 1pm and lasting around 15 minutes.
Ferryhill Parish Church
On Saturday 7 July Ferryhill Parish Church will keep its Church Sanctuary open from 10am to 4pm providing a peaceful space in which to remember those who lost their lives and who were affected;
Ferryhill Parish Church also has the Memorial Chapel, home of the Piper Alpha stained-glass window. The designer of the window, Jennifer-Jane Bayliss, will be in the church from 11am and 12 noon and 2pm and 4pm on Saturday.
The church is also home to the Lord Provost’s Book of Remembrance, and visitors will be able to read the names of loved ones, survivors’ names and official letters of condolence from all over the world.
A short film with some memories from survivors of the disaster will also be available and there will be an opportunity to light a small candle in remembrance.
Aberdeen Maritime Museum
To mark the 30th anniversary of the Piper Alpha tragedy there will be an opportunity to see in detail the Piper Alpha Memorial banner, commissioned by the Victorian Trade and Labour Council in Australia, and gifted to the City of Aberdeen, at Aberdeen Maritime Museum this weekend.
Made by textile artist Julie Montgarret the banner commemorates those who lost their lives in the Piper Alpha Disaster 30 years ago.
The banner usually hangs in the museum’s education suite but it will be taken down off the wall to allow visitors to see both sides of this very special tribute.
Piper Alpha Memorial Banner Aberdeen Maritime Museum, Shiprow Friday 6 July, Saturday 7 July, 10am-5pm Sunday 8 July, 12noon-3pm
Aberdeen Central Library
Remembering Piper Alpha exhibition
To mark the 30th anniversary of the tragedy the Local Studies section has put together an exhibition showcasing items from its reserve stock. The exhibition will be on display in the Information Centre.
Exhibition runs 5 July – 14 July
Aberdeen Central Library, Rosemount Viaduct
The images are of the Piper Alpha Memorial statue, created in bronze, by renowned Scottish artist Sue Jane Taylor. The statue was unveiled on 6th July 1991 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. The plinth under the Piper Alpha statue states: Dedicated to the memory of the one hundred and sixty seven men who lost their lives in the Piper Alpha Oil Platform Disaster 6th July 1988.