Unveiled by Queen Elizabeth the Mother 1991
Location: North Sea Memorial Rose Garden, Hazelhead Park, Aberdeen

I was chosen to sculpt the memorial by a selection panel from representatives of Piper Alpha families and survivors association and Aberdeen city council.  I had never tackled anything on this scale before or of such public high profile. I spent nine months working at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop where I created the three figure sculpture in plaster; these figures were then cast into bronze at Burlieghfield foundry, Buckinghamshire.

“I moved to the Scottish Sculpture Workshop in the village of Lumsden, Aberdeen-shire. There I created a series of large working drawings, in conte and charcoal, investigating the pose for each of the three figures. These were drawn from life models, each chosen for his age and features. It was not easy to find male models in the middle of the Aberdeen countryside but with great effort I found wonderful people fully dedicated to their task: one was an Aberdeen University arts graduate, the son of the workshop’s secretary; one a visiting sculptor at the workshop; and the third was a survivor, Bill Barron.”

Diary extract: Oilwork North Sea Dairies publication, Piper Alpha Memorial, 1990

“I created my own personal working environment in one of the big outside sheds. It was single wall, unrendered, breeze-block with the water dripping through the walls when it rained or snowed. I tried to create my protective cacoon by stapling bubble wrap over the draughty, large creaking wooden doors.  The technicians, who were sculptors themselves, assisted me with the steel armature to the correct one and a half times larger than life size and I started working on the first and central figure.”

Diary extract: Oilwork North Sea Dairies publication, Piper Alpha Memorial, 1990

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