First minister gives memorial fund an early Christmas boost

First Minister Alex Salmond with fundraising committee members Terry Currie (left) ajnd Tommy Brennan.
First Minister Alex Salmond with fundraising committee members Terry Currie (left) ajnd Tommy Brennan.

THE campaign to have a memorial erected to Scotland’s steelworkers on the site of the former Ravenscraig plant has been handed a major boost by First Minister Alex Salmond.

Each year the First Minister commissions a leading Scottish artist to design his Christmas card with the artwork then auctioned off and proceeds from the sale split between four charities.

Three of the charities are chosen by the First Minister and one by the artist - and this year Mr Salmond has selected the Scottish Steelworkers’ Memorial Fund to be one of the beneficiaries.

This year’s artist is Dame Elizabeth Blackadder whose beautiful array of flowers and plants, to celebrate the forthcoming Year of Natural, was unveiled by Mr Salmond at a launch in the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh at an event attended by Dame Elizabeth and representatives of the good causes.

The First Minister praised the work being done by the fund and said it would be a worthy beneficiary.

He said: “They are doing a tremendous amount to try to establish a memorial to one of the important elements of Scotland’s past and hopefully this will help.”

The other three chosen charities are Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Dyslexia Scotland, chosen by Mr Salmond, and the Sick Kids Friends Foundation, chosen by Dame Elizabeth.

As well as profiting from the sale of the original artwork, the charities are also given limited edition prints which they can use to raise further funds.

Tommy Brennan, fundraising committee member and a former union leader at Ravenscraig, said the committee was delighted with the news that the First Minister was supporting their efforts.

He said: “It is our wish to erect a statue in the memory of those who lost their lives in the Scotland-wide steelworks.

“The statue will be erected close to the Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility and to be included as one of the beneficiaries has given our committee a real boost.

“We knew that we were doing a good thing, but the First Minister has reaffirmed our efforts.

“To receive such high profile support is excellent. This will hopefully help us get our project known across the country.

“It is our wish to see this project to fruition by the end of next year and to be a beneficiary of the First Minister’s Christmas Card is certainly progressing our fundraising efforts and our wishes in the right direction.”