A FAMOUS 130-year-old sculpture of Robert Burns and Highland Mary has been restored to its former glory and unveiled at a special Burns Day event in Bathgate.
The marble monument was gifted to Bathgate town council in 1952 and put on public display.
But by the 1970s the years had taken their toll on the monument, and after vandals knocked off the heads and broke off the arms and legs, the monument was put in storage.
However, back in 2009 the sculpture of Burns with Highland Mary, which used to stand in Bathgate’s Kirkton Park, was found lying in ruins in a council shed and a local fundraising campaign got underway to help restore the sculpture to its former glory.
The project was funded through the West Lothian Council public art fund which was a combination of funds put forward from the development of the Edgar Allen site — Maple Oak plc – A Richard Carrillion development and the new Bathgate Partnership Centre development.
The council’s community arts team and property services were responsible for project management, in partnership with the Bathgate Historic Conservation Society, who also did their own fundraising to support the project.
The total value of the restoration work was £43,610 which was achieved by the combined funding generated through the supplementary planning guidance for developers for public art contributions.
The fully restored sculpture of Scotland’s most celebrated bard has now found a new home in the garden of West Lothian Council’s new Bathgate Partnership Centre.
Executive councillor for culture and leisure, Jim Walker, said: “This has been a wonderful project for both the council and local conservationists to work on and today marks a special occasion for everyone involved.
“The new Bathgate Partnership Centre is a fantastic facility for the town and the sculpture will take centre stage in the centre’s garden, so that the whole community will be able to see it.”