Jocky Wilson to Jackie O – we need to celebrate our legends and landmarks

We’re not very good at celebrating our greatest folk, our landmarks, or the biggest moments this town has ever witnessed. That needs to change.
Jocky Wilson in Kirkcaldy with the Embassy Darts World Championship trophy after beating John Lowe in 1982 (Pic: Crauford Tait/TSPL)Jocky Wilson in Kirkcaldy with the Embassy Darts World Championship trophy after beating John Lowe in 1982 (Pic: Crauford Tait/TSPL)
Jocky Wilson in Kirkcaldy with the Embassy Darts World Championship trophy after beating John Lowe in 1982 (Pic: Crauford Tait/TSPL)

The connections people have with Kirkcaldy are remarkable, so we need to capture their living history - our living history - before it is lost. In doing so, we don’t just preserve it, we bring it to life for this, and future generations.

The great and the good are already adequately covered, so we can tick off Adam Smith, Thomas Carlyle and all the pioneers from centuries back thanks to the sterling work done by Kirkcaldy Civic Society. Smith’s place as our greatest son isn’t in doubt when you consider the global influence he has had, but let’s move beyond the 18th century into the 21st. There’s a host of people, places and events that should have the same recognition, and the incredible creativity of many Fifers means we don’t need to be confined to just plaques.

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In Camden there’s a fabulous statue to Amy Winehouse, slap bang in the heart of a place she loved, but it required special dispensation from the council because it has a rule you have to be dead 20 years before being afforded such recognition.One question - why? I don’t really get why we cannot honour and celebrate someone while they are still with us. Times have change since rules and bye-laws were first written in dusty tomes. It’s time to blow the stoor off them.

Landmarks which honour people we can directly relate can become much-loved destinations in their own right. How many selfies have been taken next to the joyful statue of comedian Eric Morcambe in his home town? Go to Liverpool and you’ll find statues to the Fab Four and Cilla Black, while Bobby Moore stands guard outside Wembley.

We can dream big here - and we absolutely should - but we can also be practical and bring those forgotten places, people and events back into the public conscience with simple plaques and artwork, maybe even create a trail people would follow to find out more.

The 60th anniversary of The Beatles’ gig sparked discussion on why the site of the venue isn’t recorded for all to see. It should be. How about the places Guy Berryman, bass player with Coldplay, used to hang out as a bairn, or the many places referenced in Gregory Burke’s global hit play ‘Black Watch’ - arguably one of the finest pieces of theatre to emerge from Scotland this generation?

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Jackie O was an institution renowned throughout the country. The flats built on it don’t even have its name, let alone its famous logo. Its place in this town’s history is slowly fading.

And then there’s Jocky Wilson, twice world champion, and a man who transformed the sport of darts. He fits the criteria of being honoured posthumously, but Kirkcaldy still hasn’t got round to it. Let’s be honest, Jockey isn’t statue material, so the idea that was adopted as part of a Kirkcaldy’s Ambitions blueprint a few years back was simple; imagine a giant giant hand sunk into the rocks, holding a dart pointing out to the Forth. Put it 180m along the Prom and a landmark becomes a focal point, and a fitting tribute.

It didn’t happen, but it should. I’d argue it must. I remain convinced that a crowdfunder could create something very special. Let’s make it happen, then worry about who maintains it…

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