Date: Fri 25 Sept 2009
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