First Minister to visit South Queensferry

160512 Forth bridge memorial at  south queensferry.
160512 Forth bridge memorial at south queensferry.
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FIRST Minister Alex Salmond will attend a ceremony in Queensferry today (Friday) when a memorial to bridge workers who died while constructing the Forth Bridge will be unveiled.

The ceremony will take place at 1.25pm on the Hawes Promenade and it is hoped members of the public will attend the event as a mark of respect to those who lost their lives constructing the iconic structure. A similar memorial is also set to be unveiled in North Queensferry earlier that day.

The memorial to be erected on the Hawes Promenade, will also pay tribute to the thousands of ‘Briggers’ who contributed to building, maintaining and restoring the structure in the 129 years since construction began.

The memorials, which were erected earlier this week, are made up of a seven foot upright bronze section built into a stone base. The upright bears the names, ages and occupations of all the men who died during construction, while the base is engraved with the words: “To the Briggers, past and present, who built, restored and continue to maintain this iconic structure.”

Funded by Network Rail and principal contractor, Balfour Beatty, they backed a community plan to remember the men who lost their lives as part of an event to celebrate the completion of a 10 year restoration project on the bridge.

The First Minister’s attendance is to acknowledge the significance of the restoration and re-painting work and to pay tribute to all those Forth Bridge workers who have dedicated their lives to the world famous structure.

Len Saunders, chairman of the Forth Bridges Memorial Committee, who campaigned to have a memorial in Queensferry which acknowledged those who lost their lives said: “The Forth Bridge Memorial Committee is delighted to see the two memorials in place at last. The committee wishes to thank all those who have sponsored the project, and hopes that the result is considered a fitting tribute to all the ‘Briggers’ who built this iconic structure, and to all those who since then have worked to preserve it.”

Two members of the Forth Bridge Memorial committee will unveil the memorial, They are Jim Walker, who was instrumental in getting much of the early research done, and Allan Smith, who provided guidance to the committee during its years of planning.

The itinerary for today’s unveiling will see the First Minister and invited guests attend a ceremony at Battery Road, North Queensferry, at midday. From there Mr Salmond and guests will head over to South Queensferry on the Maid of the Forth, arriving at 1.15pm where the local ceremony will go ahead at 1.25pm.

nMembers of the public wishing to view the ceremony are being advised that a section of the Hawes Car Park will be coned off from 8am to 4pm so parking in the area will be at a premium.