A BEAUTIFUL iron memorial bench and tree of inspiration were unveiled in Cardenden in a special ceremony on Remembrance Day.

The two original works of art, a joint project with the Cardenden Environment Group, Fife Council and Rory Thomas, from Iron Designs by Rory in Leslie, now have pride of place at Gammie Place and include a list of famous names from the area.

Rory was tasked with creating a commemorative bench that recognised the fallen and all those who have served our country, as well as Cardenden’s famous long lost oak tree, which stood for over 100 years and is a symbol of the village.

Vicky Murdoch, from the Environment Group, said: “Our bench is unique and we hope it will provide a place for people to sit and reflect and watch the world go by while reminiscing about days gone past, and days still to come.”

A piper played Amazing Grace, and then the dedication of the Cardenden Memorial Bench was conducted by John Gilfillan on Monday November 11.

He was joined by Depute Lord Lieutenant of Fife Jim Kinloch, pupils from Lochgelly High School and Fife veteran Ben Donnachie, who recently launched the Warrior Academy for Rehabilitation, in laying wreaths.

The piper marked the end of the two minute’s silence with Flowers of the Forest before the introduction of the Cardenden Big Tree of Inspiration.

Local councillor Linda Erskine explained: “The tree represents the ‘big tree’ which stood for over 100 years on the site of the community garden.

“The tree, Cardenden’s symbol, was used as a public gathering place, people would tether their cattle or horses to it.

“It was used as a gathering place for the community, where important public announcements were made, where the miners listened to their leaders.

“A landmark which stood for over 100 years and was lost to Cardenden in 1933.

“Some of our older residents recall the tree and it is well documented in the local history group publications.” She added: “Our wee community still has the glue that held our communities together in times of adversity, whether it was war with the loss of 264 servicemen and women, in times of strife during the 1926 and 1984 miners strike, in times of tragedy.

“The loss of miners was, unfortunately, almost a daily occurrence with over 300 lost in the local pits.

“We experienced the local and national response to the loss of John Thomson, prince of goalkeepers, in September 1931.

“Then six weeks later in October 1931 when the Bowhill pit disaster stole 10 men from their families.

“Cardenden has never lost its sense of community, local fundraising, the local drop in, community fridge project and responses to emergencies testify to that.

“This tree symbolises the continuing strength of our community in our four villages.”

Rory’s artwork includes a book of inspiration with a list of famous names.

Cllr Erskine explained: “We asked our young people at our local youth clubs to nominate a Cardenden list of inspirational people.

“As you can imagine there was a long list, certainly not enough room to include every name. To include everyone that was nominated we thought what better way to show our gratitude for the nominations but to have personalised stars that can be hung from our tree branches.” She added: “Some are famous, some are only known to our community, but they are our stars, those who we aspire to emulate, those who have set us goals.

“We can be famous for our literary ability, acting, playing football, a great boxer. However, you don’t have to be famous to be a Cardenden star.” The ceremony included a poem by popular Lochgelly raconteur and musician, Willie Hershaw, about the strength of the community, and refreshments afterwards at Ore Valley’s community hub.