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Community Memorial Garden
How Can It Happen
Projects So Far
Memories Of Wick
The Bank Row Bombing
The Victims In Bank Row
9 October 05
Sixty five years on the surviving relatives along with members of Wick community formed the group ‘Second World War Air Raid Victims – Wick’ in January 2004. In October 2004 the group were successful in being awarded a 100% grant from Scottish Land Fund and UIE Community land Fund to enable them to buy the original bombsite on Bank Row.
After nine months of frustration over legal matters, the group became proud owners of this property. The groups are grateful to the previous owners for their cooperation over the sale and long wait.
Contractor, G M Henderson who has offered his services as an ‘in kind’ contribution, moved in with his diggers, lorries and cleared the surmountable mounds of fishing gear left abandoned since years on site. The diggers also have demolished and cleared the dangerous post war buildings and removed asbestos cement sheet roofing.
The company issued three tenders out to North Highland based companies for the development of the site. Pentarq, who are Thurso based, have been chosen to work with the group on this development. One of the architects is George Harper, who was born and brought up in Wick. He has recently returned to the North from working in London on many prestigious international architecture projects.
The nine months community consultation, July 2004 – March 2005 was an intense period for the group trying to contact and involve as many people of all ages. Wonderful artworks and oral stories have been created and collected in the visual and oral recordings of people’s war time and contemporary memories. All these important community works will be housed in an archive room within the garden.
The theme will be youth and tranquillity running through the elements within the hard and soft landscaping of this site. Ten school children were killed in the bombing and it is the intention of the relatives to remember their loved ones through the veins of the youth who will benefit from this project.
The group are now seeking funding for the two developments within the site: The garden’s total cost is £150,000; this includes involving and training young people in new skills during its development. The two original Thomas Telford buildings which the group would like to see transformed into a Youth Enterprise Centre will cost £274,516. This centre will consist of small incubation units for young people starting off in business set in the heart of town. The group have been successful in some of the funding but have some way to go before their goal is met.
Two major community fund raising events will take place this autumn: ‘Past, Present, Future Dance’ September 15 and ‘Let’s Do the Show’ for BBC Radio Scotland on October 8 both being held at the Assembly Rooms. This September event is organised through Wick Youth Club and helped funded by Highland Council Arts, Leisure and Sports Department. Young people led and choreographed by dance instructor Carol Webster and her assistant Tracey Morrison will dance through the ages from Neolithic age up to present day in a spectacular multi media performance. The October event will be a ‘War Time’ concert involving Caithness Big Band and other well known Caithness performers with the star attraction of a national celebrity.
6 May 05