Two senior RAF figures from Moray’s past and present are officially unveiling a unique sculpture of a Tornado at Moray’s leading international business location - the Enterprise Park Forres today (Friday 22 February).
Wing Commander David Arthurton from RAF Lossiemouth and former Group Captain James Johnston - the last Station Commander at RAF Kinloss prior to its transition to Kinloss Barracks - will officially reveal the 4 metres bronze piece which was designed and created by Scotland's largest fine art foundry, Black Isle Bronze, based in Nairn.
Commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) in 2009 the £47,800 sculpture has been placed at the Enterprise Park Forres, where it can be enjoyed by the many international investors, local workers, and visitors coming to the high quality 100 acres site.
David Oxley, Moray area manager for HIE, said: “This unique artwork marks Moray's proud association with the RAF. We believe that the history and impact of the RAF across Moray is something to be celebrated and this piece reflects that. The quality of the work is in keeping with the Park’s already excellent reputation as the premier provider of business accommodation in Moray. Over the past 18 months HIE has been receiving an unprecedented level of inward investment enquiries for buildings and land opportunities. ”
Over £22 million has been invested by HIE, the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund to meet the need of businesses for development at the Park. Its facilities have attracted businesses and investors of all sizes and across a range of sectors.
Black Isle Bronze has been responsible for many large commissions throughout the UK and beyond. As a material for public sculpture, bronze allows exceptional detail in design and is extremely durable, requiring little maintenance. Its location is being safeguarded by the Park’s security surveillance systems.
Prior to today’s unveiling the Tornado has already had a Royal audience – when it was seen by The Princess Royal, HRH Princess Anne on a visit to Black Isle Bronze in December.
Farquhar Laing, Director of Black Isle Bronze, commented: "We were delighted to be able to realise this important commission from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, who have given us so much support over the years. It's great that they have chosen to recognise and mark the important relationship between the RAF and the wider Moray community in this way. And what a fantastic symbol for a thriving business park. We are proud to be associated so closely with such an iconic sculpture which will, I am sure, be enjoyed by the people of Moray and beyond for many years to come."
Wing Commander David Arthurton said: ‘The RAF has been integrated with the Moray and Highland communities for many years, and since the 1980’s Tornado aircraft have been a familiar sight around the Highlands and Islands. This magnificent sculpture demonstrates the strong links between the community, businesses and the RAF. Having the support of the community in which they serve is an important factor in making our personnel feel valued. Now every time they travel to Forres that factor will be seen in the shape of this fantastic sculpture.’
Former Group Captain James Johnston, said: “Much has happened in Moray over the last two years and I am amazed at the resilience and innovation demonstrated by individuals, business and local Government.
“For me this sculpture represents all that is fantastic about the region; the setting, the artist’s craft, the manufacture, the great facilitation of HIE, and the unquestionable bond between Community and the Armed Forces.”
In an aviation related theme, HIE has also recently awarded funding towards a feasibility study which will look at options for turning a Nimrod at Kinloss into a visitor attraction.