Blogging from A to Z April Challenge

1 April 2014

Am I up for the challenge?  Do I have what it takes? …. of course I do! Here’s to the Blogging from A-Z April Challenge. Bring it on!

The challenge is to blog my way, thematically, from A to Z during the course of this month, not including Sundays…. because they are sacred to the #52Ancestors challenge. All fits perfectly …. it’s as though I planned it! I didn’t.

However, I have now managed to decide on my theme, having spent weeks trying to fathom what on earth would work as an overall concept for the month. I finally settled on using the phonetic alphabet. Gives me diversity and allows me to focus on various topics across the history and genealogy spectrum…. Hm….not sure on that word. Always makes me think of light and disorders. Moving swiftly on….

A is for Alpha, Piper Alpha. A North Sea oil production platform operated by Occidental Petroleum (Caledonia) Ltd, Piper Alpha was destroyed by explosion and fire on 6 July 1988, killing 167 men, with only 61 survivors. The world’s worst offshore oil disaster, most of the victims suffocated in toxic fumes which developed after a gas leak set off the blasts and sparked a fire. The death toll also included two crewmen of a rescue vessel.

The EG5 series at The National Archives contains the records of the public inquiry, chaired by The Hon Lord Cullen between 11 November 1988 and 15 February 1990, into the accident on the Piper Alpha offshore drilling platform. Moving memories of the men who died on Piper Alpha are shared via the BBC website and National Geographic featured this incident in an episode of its Seconds From Disaster documentary. Last year, BBC2 aired a documentary film about the disaster entitled Fire in the Night.

The Listening Project is a Radio 4 initiative that offers a snapshot of contemporary Britain in which people across the UK volunteer to have a conversation with someone close to them about a subject they have never discussed intimately before. The conversations are being gathered across the UK by teams of producers from local and national radio stations who facilitate each encounter. A fascinating conversation is featured, between a father and his 11 year old daughter, about his memories of the 1988 Piper Alpha explosion and the many friends he lost that night. Every conversation on the site lasts up to an hour and is then edited. Most of the unedited conversations are being archived by the British Library and used to build up a collection of voices capturing a unique portrait of the UK in the second decade of the millennium.

To mark the 25th anniversary of the disaster, the Daily Record and Sunday Mail listed those who lost their lives on 6 July 1988 and Pamela Adam has also made the list available on Flickr.

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