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Deer-lightful Buckie gateway feature unveiled

By Alan Beresford

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BUCKIE'S new gateway feature has been unveiled near the town's Tesco store.

Entitled Buckie's Darling, the piece features a deer with metal herring interwoven into its tubular steel body. The statue was originally scheduled to be unveiled last year but was delayed due to the Covid lockdown.

The £25,000 funding for the piece was provided by part of the developer contribution paid to Moray Council when the store opened over a decade ago.

Behind the statue is Portsoy-based artist Carn Standing, who said he brought two essential elements from Buckie's past together to create Buckie's Darling.

He said: "The original brief was for a piece which reflected Buckie's culture and heritage, what made made Buckie Buckie.

"I went off and did my homework and learned about the importance of the bucks – male deer – to the name and how the Buckpool was joined later by other communities.

"I was basically learning as I went along and found that it wasn't really until the herring fishing came along that the town became wealthy.

"The more I learned the more excited I became about it. I didn't just want to do something that was just about fishing, I wanted to deliver something which was outside the box.

"The buck is important in the history of Buckie and so were the herring, the Silver Darlings, and I had a very strong image in my head of what I wanted to do.

"I’ve also depicted the navigational Dog Star on the hoof of the deer in homage to Nehalennia, the mythical Scottish goddess who was the patron saint of sea traders and offered protection on the water, another symbolic link to local mariners past and present.”

Constructed from steel tubing and plate, creating Buckie's Darling presented challenges which meant art and engineering had to compromise.

Mr Standing continued: "Making something like Buckie's Darling is more difficult than some people think.

"I don't do detailed plans, I do a drawing of how I want it to look then throw it out there on the floor and start making it. Getting metal to do what you want it to do isn't easy and it was a lengthy process.

"There are limits to what's possible and you have to compromise. I also had to make sure it was going to be strong enough to withstand being outside.

"It's great to see it finally up. The delay was just one of those things due to Covid. I think my neighbours have got used to it sitting in my garden!

"I'm confident the people of Buckie will like it. Like any good piece of public artwork I hope it will give a feelgood factor and make people proud of Buckie."

An open competition in 2019 saw artists from across the country invited to submit designs with a final shortlist of three selected by a panel comprising Buckie's three councillors, a representative of Buckie Tesco, an independent artist and council officers.

The three shortlisted artists – Carn Standing, Emma Crawford and Maggie Clyde – all made maquettes of their entries which were displayed in Tesco in Buckie for six weeks for members of the public to see and comment on. Over 450 comments were received, with Buckie’s Darling receiving the most positive comments. The shortlisting panel chose the winning entry, taking account of these comments, and selected Buckie’s Darling to be the gateway feature for Buckie.

The unveiling of Buckie's Darling was hailed by the town's councillors, Sonya Warren, Gordon Cowie and Tim Eagle.

Councillor Warren said: "I'm so excited to see it in reality. Carn put forward an excellent model and story of his inspiration.

"It was a worthy winner, with huge support from the public. It's great to see the funding from developer obligations from when Tesco was built finally being being used. There were different requirements to elements of funding and it was good to have community involvement in the selection of this piece of work.

"It's been fantastic to see it grow from the drawings and model into life size reality. We were lucky enough to be invited to see the work in progress before Covid hit. The thought and skill required in creating this bit of art is incredible. Carn has put much thought and detail into the work, right down to the Northern Star. It's great to have been able to add the info panel so that folk can read the story and inspiration.

"I'm delighted to have a sculpture of this quality in Buckie, it's a beautiful addition to the town."

Councillor Cowie commented: "I'm glad to see this being unveiled today as it has been a long time in the waiting but I am sure it will be well worth it.

"Carn has done a great job in the construction of the piece and am sure it will be a centrepiece coming into Buckie.

"Thank you, Tesco for this as it has been fully funded by the developer contributions from them."

Councillor Eagle said: "It's great to see the artwork finally installed after a delay during Covid.

"This has been a great process with good community support and I hope is a great entrance feature for the town for many years to come."

Chairman of the council's planning committee, Councillor Dave Bremner (Fochabers-Lhanbryde, SNP) added: "It's fantastic to see this artwork in place as Buckie's gateway feature.

"Buckie's Darling really is inspired and Carn has done a tremendous job."

The base for the statue was created by Paul Bijl.

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