Wick sea memorial campaign reaches £45,000 after latest donation
A fundraising campaign for a memorial in Wick to victims of the sea is on course to pass the halfway mark.
The Seafarers Memorial Group is looking to raise as much as £100,000 to erect a monument at the town’s Braehead in memory of all seafarers lost from or in the WK registration area.
Its efforts have been boosted by another four-figure donation, this time from Lybster Harbour Society, whose £1000 cheque has brought the total raised so far to £45,000.
Willie Watt, chairman of the Seafarers Memorial Group, said: “We’ve had really good financial support from far and wide – from east and west and north and south.
“We’ve had support from the public, from different companies, from harbours and especially from the fishing fraternity. They’ve taken it to their hearts – and their pockets.
"All the main fishing harbours have contributed to our cause which demonstrates the depth of feeling. Lybster Harbour Society has been so generous – it’s a huge amount for a small harbour.
“This monument has been talked about for a long time. We’ve got a good team assembled now and we’re going to deliver it."
The group has set itself a target of between £75,000 and £100,000, with applications to public funding bodies likely to be made this year.
“We’re just about to pass the halfway mark and we’re still working hard with funding organisations," Mr Watt said.
"But we’re moving into the planning stages of the project. We’re looking to start to pull the project plan together and decide what the monument is going to look like and how it’s going to be delivered.”
It will be a place of remembrance and reflection overlooking the harbour.
A meeting will be held soon to consider the next stage of the project. The aim is to install a suitable memorial close to the Pilot House above Wick harbour, although there is no specific timescale for its completion.
“We’re going to listen to advice and then we’ll sit down and discuss and debate how we move it forward,” Mr Watt said.
“It will be a place of remembrance and reflection overlooking the harbour. It’s the ideal location, and it will be a focal point for people who have lost loved ones to the sea.
“Our drive is to try to get something done this year, but we’re not wholly familiar with the art world and sculptures and how long it takes to go through all the processes that we might have to go through.
“We have other funding applications in and we’re reasonably hopeful that they will be sympathetic to what we’re trying to achieve."
The group members feel that such a memorial is long overdue, given the importance of the sea to generations of Wick people.
“Our community has been created around the sea. I just think it’s wrong that there is no monument to the seafarers who created this community that we’re privileged to be a part of,” Mr Watt said.
Mr Watt was re-elected as chairman at the group's recent AGM. Other office-bearers remaining in place are Jan Banks (vice-chairperson), John Bogle (secretary) and Allan Tait (treasurer).