Relatives of some of the Piper Alpha victims have attended the unveiling of a restored memorial garden ahead of the 25th anniversary of the world’s worst offshore disaster.
Kerri Henderson, whose father died in the 1988 tragedy eight days before she was born, joined representatives from the oil and gas industry at the tribute in Aberdeen’s Hazlehead Park.
The refurbishment was led by the Pound for Piper trust set up by two rig stewardesses anxious about the state of the garden dedicated to the 167 men who lost their lives in the explosion.
Co-founder Carol Banks planted the final rose of 11,000 provided by Cocker’s Roses to ensure the garden is in full bloom by the July 6 anniversary.
Donations from member companies of Oil & Gas UK covered about £140,000 of the total £150,000 cost of the refurbishment and Aberdeen City Council made up the remainder.
The trust said fundraising will continue to ensure the long-term maintenance of the garden.
Ms Banks said: “This is a momentous day for everyone who has worked hard to make it possible.
“Since we set up Pound for Piper, we’ve been overwhelmed by the support of the onshore and the offshore community as well as the oil and gas industry, which has backed the trust both financially and in spirit.”
The mother-of-three was inspired to set up the fund by a television interview with the wife of a Piper Alpha survivor who has since died and who wanted to ensure the upkeep of the garden.
“It played on my mind and then I thought, ‘if we each just give a pound’, this would help raise enough,” she said.
Fundraising for Pound for Piper has included charity football matches, raffles, live waxing and hard hat collection boxes as well as the selling of merchandise such as T-shirts, hooded tops and wrist bands through their online shop.
Councillor Neil Cooney, head of the housing and environment committee, said: “The memorial garden and statue is a very special place for Aberdeen citizens and the wider oil and gas industry, particularly for those whose lives have been affected by this tragedy.
“It is a place for quiet contemplation and reflection, so it is therefore essential that it is attractive, well looked after and maintained to as high a standard as possible.
“Council staff already work hard on its upkeep, but this additional support from the oil and gas community, both on and offshore, will bring a huge boost.
“We are extremely grateful for their generosity and hope we can continue to work together in meaningful ways so the memory of the victims of the Piper Alpha tragedy lives on.”