Author: Joyce Morton
Darvel is rightly proud to be the birthplace of one of the most famous people in the world – Sir Alexander Fleming. Born in 1881 at Lochfield Farm (on the ‘5’ Mile Road north of Darvel), Fleming discovered penicillin at St Mary’s Hospital in London in September 1928. One of the most important advances in infection control, penicillin and its derivatives have saved millions of lives since the 2nd World War in 1939.
For many years, the memorial and bust in Hastings Square have been the only recognition of his achievement in his hometown.
Darvel & District Community Council (DDCC) and Darvel Improvement Group (DIG) acknowledged that the deteriorating memorial was insufficient to honour his achievement and organised a competition in 2015 for Darvel residents to design a more fitting memorial.
Since then, DIG has been working with East Ayrshire Council’s Vibrant Communities to develop the new design. The new memorial will be in the form of a curved granite wall incorporating 6 plaques detailing his life and discovery. A representation of the famous petri dish showing the penicillin mould will take centrepiece and be partly surrounded by seating. A full sized statue of Sir Alexander Fleming will also be commissioned.
This new memorial, together with the Main Street Market (formerly known as the Community Garden and Market) will certainly transform Darvel’s Town Centre.
It is an expensive project but Darvel needs a fitting tribute to its most famous son. DIG will soon be applying for planning permission and then the mammoth task of securing funding!