July 6, 2018

The final preparations have been put in place in the Piper Alpha Memorial Garden in Aberdeen’s Hazlehead Park ahead of a special service today (Friday 6 July) to commemorate the 30th anniversary.

 

Aberdeen City Council, with the financial support of the Pound for Piper Trust, has installed new benches and refreshed the garden in readiness for the service.

 

UK oil and gas industry Chaplain, Reverend Gordon Craig, will lead an Act of Remembrance for families, friends and representatives from industry in honour of the 167 men who tragically lost their lives in the Piper Alpha disaster.

 

The Reverend Gordon Craig, Chaplain to the UK oil and gas industry, who is organising the Act of Remembrance, said:

 

“As the day of the anniversary gets ever closer it is apparent in the calls we have received that many wish to take time to commemorate the tragedy and remember those lost. So many lives were affected on that terrible night and it is right and proper that we take a little time to recognise this. In doing so my prayer is we provide a little crumb of comfort to those affected most.

 

“I think it is vital that the industry takes time to remember too. The deaths of those men led to massive improvements in the way safety was managed in North Sea Industry. It became an infinitely safer place than it was in 1988 but it will only remain so if we all play our part. Remembering the cost when things go horribly wrong can only encourage us all to work safely.

 

“I’m therefore grateful that Step Change in Safety has provided a means to stream the commemoration live from the Chaplaincy Facebook Page. This has been a great comfort to families who can no longer travel to Aberdeen and allows the offshore community to join with those in Aberdeen and remember all who failed to return to their family after the disaster.’

 

The order of service will include a poem entitled the Sea and the Beach, read by the chaplain.

 

Their names will be read in a roll call by the Chaplain, Oil & Gas UK Chief Executive Deirdre Michie, Joanna Reynolds – Graduate of the Year 2017, Head of HSE’s Offshore Division Chris Flint, Step in Change Safety Executive Director Les Linklater, and Apprentice of the Year 2017, Sam Ash.

 

The service will conclude with a Piper’s Lament, followed by a minute’s silence. After this industry representatives, government representatives and friends, families and colleagues will be invited to lay wreathes and flowers.

 

Offshore workers will also be able to pay their respects as the service is being streamed live as on the UK Oil and Gas Chaplaincy Facebook page, made possible through the support of Step Change in Safety. The timing of the event – chosen to best suit the families and to be closer to the actual time of the disaster – coincides with offshore workers changing shift.

 

The Lord Provost of Aberdeen Barney Crockett said:

 

“The Piper Alpha tragedy was 30 years ago yet the events of that night are as shocking today three decades on.   It will forever be imprinted on the Aberdeen memory.

 

“We will never forget the 167 men who died in the tragedy – dads, sons, brothers, uncles, nephews, partners, friends and colleagues, and that is why it is so important that the City of Aberdeen and industry come together for this Act of Remembrance.   By coming together for this special service, I hope that those affected will know that our thoughts are with them at this time and forever.”

 

Speaking ahead of the service, Oil & Gas UK Chief Executive Deirdre Michie said:

 

“The coming together of industry is so important, reinforcing as it does that we continue to honour and keep in our thoughts, those who died as a result of that awful tragedy.

 

“It is an important milestone in what is an ongoing journey – one in which we need to ensure every generation shares our determination that it will never happen again.”

 

Steve Rae, on behalf of the Pound for Piper Trust, added:

 

“The Pound for Piper Trust would like to thank the staff at Aberdeen City Council and Hazlehead Park for making every effort to have these gardens looking at their best for the service.  We would also like to thank those who give generously and those who work tirelessly to raise funds on the Trust’s behalf, as without their continued support the Trust would be unable to provide financial assistance to ensure these gardens are maintained to the high standards deserved of those 167 souls who lost their lives on that tragic night.”

 

Ends

Issued by the Oil & Gas UK communications team. Contact Natalie Coupar, communications manager at 01224 577343 or ncoupar@oilandgasuk.co.uk – out of office hours – 07623 514835.

Notes to Editors:

 

The order of service is as follows:

 

  • 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
  • Offshore workers will also be able to pay their respects as the service is being streamed live on the UK Oil and Gas Chaplaincy Facebook page here.
  • A lone piper will play a lament followed by a minute’s silence
  • Wreaths will 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 North Sea Memorial Garden.
  • Wreathes will then be laid by Baroness Goldie, representing the Secretary of State for Scotland and the UK Government, and Paul Wheelhouse Minister for Energy representing the Scottish Parliament.
  • Families, friends, colleagues and well-wishers will then have the opportunity to lay flowers or wreaths
  • Light refreshments will be available in Hazlehead Park Café, from 6pm onwards, courtesy of the Pound for Piper Trust

 

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.

 

  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • There will be an opportunity to light a small candle in remembrance.
  • Piper Alpha Memorial Banner, commissioned by the Victorian Trade and Labour Council in Australia, and gifted to the City of Aberdeen, will be taken down from where it usually hangs in the Education Suite to allow visitors to see both sides of this very special artwork.
    • Aberdeen Maritime Museum, Shiprow – Friday 6 July, Saturday 7 July, 10am-5pm
      Sunday 8 July, 12noon-3pm
  • The Pound for Piper  Trust is selling 167 limited edition prints of the Piper Alpha Memorial and Gardens to raise fund for the garden. Find out more here:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/poundforpipermemorialtrustprintsales