Dunfermline Press article posted on 16th September 2011 by Gary Fitzpatrick

A COMMEMORATIVE bench paid for by music fans will be installed in Pittencrieff Park in a touching tribute to Skids and Big Country legend Stuart Adamson, as the 10th anniversary of his tragic death approaches.

Devoted fans from around the world are expected to attend the unveiling in the Glen on Saturday 24th September with events planned to celebrate Stuart’s music later in the day.

Fittingly, the bench will be in the shadow of the Glen Pavilion where Big Country played their first ever gig in 1982.

The driving force behind the tribute is Gwenda Matthews, who lives in Wigan and has been a fan of Big Country since their early days.

She travelled to Dunfermline last week to meet council officers and finalise arrangements for the bench to be installed at the picturesque setting of the Glen lily pond.

Gwenda also met Stuart’s family to make sure they were fully supportive of the memorial.

Gwenda had spent several years living in Dunfermline working at a local hotel in the 1990s.

When she came back for a visit earlier this year she was disappointed to see nothing had been built to recognise the achievements of Stuart, who died in December 2001.

There is a mural tribute to Stuart at East End Park but it’s not something fans coming to Dunfermline can visit outwith football matches.

Gwenda (42), said, “When I took a day trip to Dunfermline earlier this year I was saddened and dismayed there was still no official memorial in Stuart’s beloved hometown.

“A place where fans could show their respect and love of this great man.”

After posting on the websites of Big Country and the Skids, as well as on Facebook, she was buoyed by positive feedback from other fans.

“As a fan I believed so strongly, as indeed other fans did, that there should be a fitting memorial in Stuart’s name in his home town and more importantly that we as fans should organise a serene and fitting tribute,” she explained.

“Stuart left his fans with a legacy in his music and we the fans wanted to give something back.”

Gwenda came across a tribute to the late Kirsty MacColl where fans raised funds for a bench in London’s Soho Square. “That seemed to be such a beautiful and fitting idea,” she said.

There were some people who disagreed with the idea of a bench and would have preferred a statue but it was important to have something that was achievable through the fans’ own efforts and in time for the 10th anniversary.

“From the flash of a spark ignited by the desire to see a memorial to this great local man came a campaign initially on Facebook.

“I was overwhelmed by the thousands of fans from across the world who pulled together and became friends giving generous donations to help the cause. A cause so just and fitting.

“In recognition of the sheer passion and lyrics which guided and spoke of a beautiful landscape, the fans put forward a suggestion that lyrics be engraved into the memorial bench.

“This was such a heartfelt response by the fans who had been so affected by the unique music and the stunning beauty of the songs.”

Gwenda said of the much-missed singer songwriter, “That his roots lay firmly with the working person can be heard and felt throughout his lyrics.

“His was a landscape of emotion and above all a pride in his Scottish roots. A pride that grew with hardship.”

Gwenda, a part-time student at Bolton University, said, “There are fans coming from Germany and all over the world.”

Lines from Big Country songs ‘East of Eden’, ‘In a Big Country’, ‘Eiledon’ and ‘Scared to Dance’ by the Skids will adorn the bench.

Gwenda added, “Stuart was so proud of his hometown in Fife, his lyrics reflected the very depths of it.”

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