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Gardens of remembrance and books of condolence open in Thurso and Wick


By Alan Hendry

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Provost Jan McEwan and councillors Willie Mackay (left) and Raymond Bremner with piper Alasdair Miller after the laying of the wreath at the garden of remembrance at Wick riverside.
Provost Jan McEwan and councillors Willie Mackay (left) and Raymond Bremner with piper Alasdair Miller after the laying of the wreath at the garden of remembrance at Wick riverside.

Gardens of remembrance have been opened in Thurso and Wick following the death of Queen Elizabeth II and books of condolence are available in both towns for those wishing to offer their own tributes.

The Thurso garden of remembrance is at the Lady Thurso Gardens in Rose Street and there are books of condolence at the town's public library and Highland Council service point.

Similarly in Wick, books of condolence are available at the library within the East Caithness Community Facility and at the service point. The garden of remembrance is at the riverside.

At the opening of the Thurso garden of remembrance this morning, the town's provost, Struan Mackie, announced: "Fellow citizens, ladies and gentlemen, it falls to me on this solemn occasion to open this garden of remembrance so that we, the people of Caithness, our friends, family and visitors to the Highlands can lay a floral tribute to demonstrate in our own way how much we hold Her Majesty the Queen in the very highest esteem."

Provost Struan Mackie (left) at the garden of remembrance in Thurso with fellow councillors Matthew Reiss (centre) and Ron Gunn.
Provost Struan Mackie (left) at the garden of remembrance in Thurso with fellow councillors Matthew Reiss (centre) and Ron Gunn.

After a minute's silence, Councillor Mackie laid a wreath on behalf of Highland Council. The short ceremony ended with a lament on the pipes.

Highland Council members for Wick and East Caithness were led by the provost, Jan McEwan, at the laying of a wreath at the Wick garden of remembrance. They observed a minute's silence before piper Alasdair Miller, of Wick RBLS Pipe Band, played a lament.

Members proceeded to Caithness House where Councillor McEwan opened and signed the book of condolence, followed by the leader of Highland Council, Raymond Bremner, and fellow councillors Willie Mackay and Andrew Jarvie.

Provost Jan McEwan signing the book of condolence in Caithness House.
Provost Jan McEwan signing the book of condolence in Caithness House.

Councillor McEwan made a statement at the laying of the wreath and wrote the following message in the book of condolence on behalf of the people of Wick and East Caithness: “It is with deepest sadness that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II passed away peacefully on 8th September, 2022. Her Majesty reigned for 70 years, dedicating her life to public service, and I am proud to have met her. I offer my sincere condolences to His Majesty King Charles III and all the Royal Family. The citizens of the United Kingdom and the world mourn the loss of a great Queen.”

Arrangements will be made for the proclamation of the new King at the market cross in Wick.

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Flags have been lowered to half-mast at Highland Council locations.

The local authority's convener, Councillor Bill Lobban, said: “On behalf of the Highland Council and communities of the Highlands, we join the nation in mourning for Her Majesty the Queen. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to all members of the royal family and household and honour Her Majesty the Queen’s long service and duty to the country.”

Details of the books of condolence and gardens of remembrance can found on the Highland Council website.

The council says it will only be carrying out essential business meetings during the period of mourning.

Wick's community market, scheduled for this Saturday, has been cancelled as a mark of respect.

Highland Council leader Raymond Bremner signing the book of condolence at Wick.
Highland Council leader Raymond Bremner signing the book of condolence at Wick.
Councillor Willie Mackay signing the book of condolence at Caithness House.
Councillor Willie Mackay signing the book of condolence at Caithness House.
Councillor Andrew Jarvie signing the book of condolence in Caithness House.
Councillor Andrew Jarvie signing the book of condolence in Caithness House.
Provost McEwan's message in the book of condolence at Caithness House, alongside a portrait of the late Queen.
Provost McEwan's message in the book of condolence at Caithness House, alongside a portrait of the late Queen.
The wreath at the Wick garden of remembrance.
The wreath at the Wick garden of remembrance.
The message on the wreath at Wick acknowledging Her Majesty's 70 years of service and expressing condolences to the royal family.
The message on the wreath at Wick acknowledging Her Majesty's 70 years of service and expressing condolences to the royal family.

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