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Memorial bench to be erected for Charlie Morrison as part of Durness playpark project

By Niall Harkiss

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A POIGNANT tribute is being planned for a Durness boy who died in tragic circumstances a year ago.

Durness Community Group (DCG) has announced plans to place a memorial bench in the village's soon-to-be renovated playpark as a tribute to Charlie Morrison.

Charlie Morrison
Charlie Morrison


The 11-year-old was killed in a quad bike accident in November 2022, sending the north-west Sutherland community into mourning.

Councillor Hugh Morrison, who represents North, West and Central Sutherland on Highland Council and has backed the playpark redevelopment, said at the time: "No words can express the depth of feeling over this tragedy.

"The family are very well known and liked in the area and their loss will be felt widely."

Graeme Smart, head teacher of North West Sutherland Schools, added: “He was a bright, happy boy who loved being in the outdoors, had a real love for technology and model making and a curiosity about how things worked.

“He was a much loved and valued part of our school group and the schools are sadder places this morning."

Group vice-chair Yvonne Macrae confirmed plans for the bench this week.

The renovated playpark in Durness is expected to be open by the summer.
The renovated playpark in Durness is expected to be open by the summer.

She said: "Part of the playpark project is to buy new picnic tables and benches, and what we have proposed is that one of the benches will become a memorial bench for Charlie.

"His parents, Iain and Tricia Morrison, kindly donated towards the playpark fund in memory of Charlie. We decided it would be a fitting tribute."

Durness Community Group (DCG) met its target of £114,000 needed to revamp the north-west Sutherland playpark last week, after securing a grant of £56,899 during the latest round of Sutherland area community regeneration funding from Highland Council.

The project was one of 14 community-led initiatives across Sutherland to be awarded a share of £528,500 from the area fund.

Plans for the new play area, located on School Road in Durness, include the provision of new and "inclusive" play equipment, picnic benches and tables, and new gates.

Ms Macrae added: "We have had so much support from local business and families in the area and this has helped us to achieve our match funding. We are so grateful to everyone for their support. There are too many people to thank individually but special thanks must go to our local councillors, Hugh Morrison and Marianne Hutchison, for supporting our application."

The group also extended their thanks to the Westminster Foundation, Scottish Sea Farms, Loch Duart Salmon, The Durness Bus, Sango Sands Oasis, K MacRae and Sons, Mudness Ceramics, Durness Active Health, and Emma Williamson and family.

It is hoped that the new equipment will be in place in time for the summer.

Ms Macrae added: "We asked children in the area what types of equipment they would most like to see in the playpark and we have tried to match their wish list. They really wanted swings as they were quite devastated when they were taken away. We will also have some new inclusive play equipment, such as an accessible roundabout and the benches also are being made with accessibility in mind.

"The new park will give the local children in the school and nursery, which is just across the road from the park, a place to play every day. It will also hopefully make the village a little bit more attractive to families who would like to come for a visit."

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