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Air crash memorial room to expand

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By Fiona Reid
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Air crash memorial room to expand

A MEMORIAL site to the Pan Am air disaster and its victims is to be developed and enhanced.

The Tundergarth Kirks trust have shared their plans for the Memorial Room site on the side of the B7068, overlooking Lockerbie.

They are in the process of acquiring it from Dumfries and Galloway Council for £1, along with the neighbouring Auld Kirk Ruin.

And then they hope to develop the room and connect it to Tundergarth Church to provide “an all-around experience for those wishing to learn about Pan Am 103, Lockerbie and all those affected by the tragedy of December 21 1988.”

Meanwhile, the ruin will be renovated to create a building on the south side with a solar roof while using the interior as a columbarium for storing funeral urns.

In their proposal document, the trust said: “By connecting the Memorial Room and the Kirk visitors will be able to experience the story of Pan Am 103 and then spend a tranquil period of contemplation in the kirk.

“Tundergarth Kirks wishes to offer an all-year-round facility to both the local community and to those who travel and visit the Memorial Room. The group are keen there remains an accessible, sustainable, and lasting legacy for those who seek reflection on the tragedy that unfolded in 1988.”

Members of the Annandale and Eskdale area committee last week approved the £1 asset transfer after hearing that the trust “wish to keep alive the story of Pan Am 103 and the victims and survivors of the tragedy through the development and enhancement of the Tundergarth Memorial site, including the Memorial Room, Kirk and Ruin.”

The room is a small stone built building, measuring just 11 square metres and was the former cemetery watch room. It is open 24/7 and since first opening in 1990, it’s estimated that 50,000 people have visited to pay their respects, to reflect and to seek a space for contemplation. The official visitors’ book show that they have come from around the world and so

far this year, there are entries from Americans, Australians, Irish and English.

And it is anticipated that visitor numbers will grow now the pandemic and travel restrictions are lessening.

The trust say they have partners and stakeholders locally, nationally and internationally, adding: “It is clear that there is a global community that welcomes the opportunity to visit, learn and pay their respects.”

They plan to seek further funding for their project from from Historic Environmental Scotland, local windfarms developments and from the USA.

Dumfries and Galloway Council ward officer Steven Wylie Ward pointed out the benefits of the proposal, ranging from regeneration and building improvement, to ‘positive social value’.

He also noted the room had been valued at just £1000 and there had been no other expressions of interest in it.

The area committee decision will now go the finance committee for ratification.

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07th Jun

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