Published in the Courier : 26.09.11
By Leeza Clark

‘Spiritual home’ pays tribute to rock legend Stuart Adamson — with a little help from Wigan
A decade since his tragic death, a memorial has been unveiled to Fife rock legend Stuart Adamson in his ”spiritual home.”


Fans gathered round the memorial bench on Saturday. Below: some of the lyrics carved into the wood.

A commemorative bench, inscribed with fans’ favourite lyrics, was installed in Dunfermline’s Pittencrieff Park at the weekend.

It looks across the park’s Italian garden to the Glen Pavilion — where The Skids played their second ever gig and the venue for Big Country’s debut performance.

The lasting memorial was paid for by Stuart’s fans, and has the backing of his family.

While an extensive mural charting the musical career of Dunfermline’s local hero was created in Stuart’s beloved East End Park, to date there has been no other permanent memorial to him. But that’s changed, with the driving force behind the bench being Wigan woman Gwenda Matthews.

Gwenda has been a dedicated fan since the early days of Big Country.

”They played at Sefton Park in Liverpool in 1983, but my parents wouldn’t let me go,” she said.

But it wasn’t long until she saw her heroes in action, and since then reckons she must have seen them around 40-50 times in concert and met Stuart numerous times.

The music community was plunged into sadness when news broke of his untimely death in December 2001.

It occurred to Colin Gourlay, who led tributes to Stuart at the memorial unveiling at the third Skids fans’ gathering in the Corner Music Bar in Dunfermline in 2008, that the time seemed right for Stuart’s fans ”to express their love and affection for his memory in a permanent tangible way.”

Initially, he envisaged a commemorative plaque. So he set up a fund but, fearing that the original vision would be lost, decided to ”park” the project for a while.

Gwenda was on a visit to Dunfermline — where she had worked in the 1990s — earlier this year and was disappointed there was nothing to mark Stuart’s achievements. She decided that the 10th anniversary of his death could not pass unmarked and so set about the task.

Created and funded entirely by Stuart’s fans, the final bench has been inscribed with some of his best loved lyrics — chosen by an online poll by fans. Allan Smith organised an engraved plaque.

Colin said: ”Dunfermline was always the place Stuart considered to be his spiritual home, so it is most appropriate that this humble tribute we make today is made here in Stuart’s real home.”

After unveiling the memorial bench, the large crowd of fans made their way to PJ Molloy’s for an afternoon of Stuart’s music.

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