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Buckie gateway contest winner unveiled

By Alan Beresford

A BOLD sculpture celebrating the growth and heritage of Buckie has been chosen to be the new gateway feature to the town.

For nearly two months customers visiting Buckie's Tesco store have had the opportunity to post their suggestions as to which of three possible gateway designs should be given the honour of greeting those entering Buckie.

Last Wednesday saw Portsoy-based artist Carn Standing, a professional artist of some 30 years' standing, unveiled as the winner of the UK-wide contest with his design entitled Buckie's Darling.

The sculpture is shaped like a deer, formed of individual herring to reflect the town’s fishing heritage. It will be situated on the grassed area near the roundabout opposite Tesco.

Backing the project is a £25,000 pot of cash from developer contributions, money received by Moray Council during the building of the store.

Describing his art, Mr Standing said he was inspired by how Buckie grew as a town and the importance of fishing.

“I started to see the herring within the body of the deer as a composition to unify the two things, and a symbolism for the uniting of the several villages which led to the Buckie we know today.

"The silver darlings merged into the body of the deer would be arranged as a turning shoal of fish to maximise the movement of the sculpture, to bring it alive.

"The supporting structure in the shape of a wave represents the sea and Buckie's coastal location. It adds to the forward motion of the piece and gives an energy which is replicated in the leaping deer and the swimming shoal.”

The task now begins of turning the design into reality

Mr Standing explained: "A lot of this only exists in my head at the momentso the first thing I'll be doing is getting the profile of the stag right and then filling it out with the fish.

"There'll also be a lot of practical stuff like preparing the ground and so on to take the sculpture.

"Something I'm looking at doing is a community workshop with adults of some sort, although the details of that will need to be confirmed.

"I really think people will take ownership of this. It was something I put a lot of thought into and I did feel confident that it had a good chance of winning."

The stainless steel sculpture will be handmade by Mr Standing in his Portsoy studio.

More than 400 comments were received during the consultation, with the majority from Buckie residents. Of the three shortlisted entries, the highest number of positive comments went to Buckie’s Darling.

Buckie councillors Sonya Warren, Gordon Cowie and Tim Eagle sat on the panel, alongside an independent artist, planning officers and a representative from Tesco.

Councillor Warren said: “Carn’s sculpture is a fantastic and timeless representation of Buckie.

"Residents and visitors will be able to enjoy this piece of art which has the town’s heritage at its heart. Well done, Carn, for your meaningful work.”

Councillor Cowie added: "I was very impressed with all the entries and thank all the artists for all the ideas and models that were displayed in Tesco.

"The public responded brilliantly with all the positive feedback and I congratulate the winner and look forward to seeing the stag made and installed.

"Thanks go to Tesco for making this possible and for their input with the final decision."

Mr Standing had three rivals for the coveted gateway prize. Vying with the Buckie Darling were designs from Portknockie artist Maggie Clyde (Buckie in Steel) and Aberdeen's Emma Crawford (Fishing for Flowers)

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