Kelso Laddie Ross Henderson this week officially unveiled his town’s new £40,000 piece of public artwork in the shape of the Kelsae Stane.
The winning submission for the Sainsbury’s Public Art competition , the giant block of Indian basalt was carved into shape by Maxton sculptor, Jake Harvey, who has spent the last few weeks etching local place names onto the stone’s surface.
The unveiling was timed to coincide with the start of Kelso Civic Week, with a ceremony that involved the local pipe band, a rendition of ‘Kelsae Bonnie Kelsae’ and a speech by Kelso-born author, Alistair Moffat.
The 20-ton stone is of a similar material to the town’s iconic cobbles, appearing to ‘grow’ out of the existing historic square’s surface.
Mr Harvey commented: “I have derived a great deal of pleasure from the process of conceiving and making a significant work that compliments Kelso’s cobbled square and which represents an enduring embodiment of the town.
“The journey has been arduous and lengthy, but wonderfully inspiring. While working on site in Kelso Square, I’ve immensely enjoyed meeting and working with 220 local folk who were involved during the inscription phase.
“Place names were provided by a broad spectrum of individuals ranging from those very young and just beginning to write, to someone almost 102 years old, as well as people from a wide range of backgrounds.
“I consider a point in time to have been established with the making of this sculpture, and anticipate that in due course, like myself, all the contributors and their forebears, along with those countless hundreds of interested observers who came to talk with me and to watch the sculpture evolve, will derive much pride from being actively involved with and witnessing the period of creating the Kelsae Stane.”
Charlie Robertson, Chair of the Kelso Stakeholder Group, added: “I am delighted by the unveiling of the finished Kelsae Stane and to have such a unique, original and timeless representation of the town as an integral part of the fabric of Kelso Square.
“This is a great day for Kelso.”
And as for the Kelso Laddie, what did he think? “I think it’s a great thing for the town,” Ross commented.