a PERMANENT memorial has been unveiled in honour of fallen firefighter Ewan Williamson on the wall of the pub where he lost his life.
The former Balmoral Bar in Dalry Road, where the 35-year-old died while battling a fire on July 12, 2009, reopened as Bensons in May.
Yesterday, staff were joined by community representatives to unveil the memorial plaque on the pub’s outside wall.
It was unveiled by Sighthill/Gorgie councillor Donald Wilson, who said: “I think it really was necessary, and the community council thought it was really necessary, that we do this.
“I’m not really here as a councillor, I’m here to represent the local community and say something for them.
“I think you can look at the bar reopening and starting up again and people going about their daily lives and you can think perhaps emotionally that local people have forgotten, or aren’t thinking about it, so the idea of the plaque is to say that, even if we appear to be going about our daily lives, we haven’t forgotten.
“We want to honour the events that took place and the sacrifice that was made. On behalf of the local people we’re here to say thank you, and to say to his family that we honour the loss.
“It was a terrible thing that happened here. Life has to go on, and we want it to go on, but to let them know that we haven’t forgotten about it.
“It’s a sad moment but one that’s absolutely necessary for the people of the area.”
Pub landlady Jinty Contreras added: “We got a letter from the Dalry residents and we were more than happy to do it.
“The memory’s not going to go away. We’ve brought new life to the place, but at the same time as knowing that a young chap lost his life.”
Representing the community council, member Sonia Squires said: “It wasn’t just the community council who organised it, it was Gorgie Farm and local residents, but led by the community council.
“It’s important because it was a terrible thing to happen and he was here in our community – it’s important to have a plaque so people can remember.”
The pub will host a charity race night on Saturday to raise money for firefighters’ charities. It is also hoped to make a donation to boost basketball in the region – a sport to which Ewan was devoted.
The firefighter died in the basement of the Balmoral while his colleagues working on the floors above rescued more than 20 people, including a baby.
The city joined his family and friends in mourning, with thousands of people lining the streets of the Capital on the day of his funeral to pay their respects.
More than 3000 people have signed an Evening News petition calling for him to receive the Queen’s Gallantry Medal. More than two years after his death, a joint police and HSE inquiry into his death has yet to be concluded.