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Wick bench installed in memory of poet, painter, editor and librarian David Morrison

By Alan Hendry

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David Morrison (1941-2012) at Wick's Braehead. Picture: Fergus Mather
David Morrison (1941-2012) at Wick's Braehead. Picture: Fergus Mather

A bench has been installed at Wick's Braehead in memory of David Morrison, almost 10 years after the death of the well-known poet, painter, editor and librarian.

Members of his family hope the wooden seat will allow others to enjoy the sweeping view of the harbour and bay that was so close to David's heart. Situated between the Healing Hub and the Pilot House, it features a small plaque containing lines from one of his poems.

“He would have liked to have left something for people," his daughter Glenna said. "Dad enjoyed the view so much, and Caithness was so dear to his heart."

David is remembered as a unique creative force in Wick and far beyond.

Born in Glasgow in 1941, he moved to Caithness in 1965. He was county librarian before becoming area librarian for Caithness and Sutherland.

He launched the Wick Festival of Poetry, Folk and Jazz and was the author or editor of numerous books of poetry and essays.

In 1970, David founded the radical literary magazine Scotia Review which he edited for 34 years. He also set up Pulteney Press, giving an outlet to up-and-coming and established writers.

In 2006 a collection of his poems was published by Poetry Salzburg, entitled The Cutting Edge: Collected Poems 1966-2003.

David was a member of the Royal Burgh of Wick Community Council and Wick Players as well as the Save Our Library Action Group.

The newly installed bench in memory of David Morrison (1941-2012).
The newly installed bench in memory of David Morrison (1941-2012).

He died suddenly in September 2012, aged 71, and is survived by his wife Edna, son Ewan and daughter Glenna and their families.

Ewan is a Glasgow-based writer, while Glenna, an actress, lives in Alloa. Edna moved to Alloa a number of years ago to be closer to her children and grandchildren.

Glenna said: “He was a Glasgow man and he left Glasgow to find a new home with my mum, before they had us.

“He always said his heart was in Caithness and he loved that land more than anything – everything about it."

Ewan's son Theo graduated from Eindhoven with a degree in design, while his daughter Frances is studying drama at the University of York. Glenna's son Luca is a pro youth footballer for Stirling Albion Academy and her daughter Marilena is a keen horse rider and writer.

Wick man Drew Macleod has fond memories of David and the way he encouraged literary and musical talents.

"I am delighted to hear David Morrison is being honoured and remembered in such an appropriate way," Drew said. "I first met David when my wife Rhona worked with him in Wick Library.

"Then I was lucky enough to be included in the line-up of the first poetry and jazz festival that David staged in the Norseman Hotel – an unforgettable influence."

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