Date: Fri 25 Sept 2009
Plinther praises public services during tribute to mother
A Scottish plinther will pay tribute to the public service that
helped his dying mother during his hour on the Fourth Plinth in
Trafalgar Square on Monday (28 September).
Kevin O’Neil, who works as an area organiser for UNISONScotland,
will hold up speech bubbles featuring messages from the UK’s largest
public sector union’s Million Voices campaign and its Scottish
arm – Public Works - as part of Antony Gormley’s One & Other project.
The campaign is close to the 40-year-old’s heart, as the NHS
helped his mother when she suffered a brain tumour.
Mr O’Neil, who started off working as a postman, has been working
for the union for six years. He has also completed a number of
sponsorship activities for various charities, including running
and abseiling, to raise in excess of £17,000.
Mr O’Neil, who lives in Inverkeithing, Fife, said: “I wanted
to say something in memory of my mother, who died seven years
ago of a brain tumour. The NHS is an amazing institution and gave
her endless support. It is a shining example of how vital public
services are, especially during a financial crisis, and I cannot
praise the dedication of its staff enough and I know my mother
felt the same.
“This is exactly the principles espoused by UNISON’s Public Works
campaign and I am proud to be able to support this and add to
our Million Voices from the plinth.
“I have always admired Anthony Gormley’s work and think it is
fantastic that everyone can be involved in creating a piece of
art. After watching the launch of One & Other on television I
turned round to my wife and told her I needed to apply and I feel
lucky to have been chosen.”
Notes for editors: Kevin O’Neil will be appearing on the
Plinth in Trafalgar Square, between 4pm and 5pm, on 28 September.
UNISON members have been texting, tweeting and logging on to www.unison.org.uk
to add their voice to the campaign and a selection of their messages
will be read out by Kevin.
The union, which has more than 1.3 million members, is using
the Million Voices campaign and Public Works – its Scottish arm,
to call for social justice, good jobs and quality public services.
The campaign was launched in the UK at UNISON’s Annual Conference
and the Scottish launch was yesterday (Thursday 24). This will
be taken to all the party conferences during this autumn – including
the SNP conference in Inverness where Scottish Convenor, Mike
Kirby will address a fringe meeting run jointly with APSE (the
Association of Public Sector Excellence).
Kevin’s oneandother page is at http://www.oneandother.co.uk/participants/Inverkev;
the Public Works site is at www.unison-scotland.org.uk/publicworks/adayinthelife.pdf
See also www.unison-scotland.org.uk/comms/diary.html