Fundraising drive launched ahead of further repairs to William Wallace statue in Borders
Initial repairs to the 31ft-tall statue of William Wallace overlooking the River Tweed near St Boswells have now been completed, but further work is to follow.
Those repairs were carried out after cracks appeared late last year in the stonework of the sculpture, commissioned by the 11th earl of Buchan, David Erskine, carried out by Darnick sculptor John Smith and unveiled in 1814.
That first phase of work was focused on the feet of the figure of a kilted Wallace bearing a sword and shield at Scott’s View on the Bemersyde estate near St Boswells and the plinth it stands on.
William Wallace Trust trustee Jesse Rae explained: “The source of the problem was water seeping in and running out through the bottom of the plinth from the heels of Wallace’s feet.
“That was weakening the stonework that supports the statue’s weight.
“Broken stonework was also replaced, making the plinth watertight.”
A fundraising drive has now been launched in a bid to raise money for additional preservation work to prevent any further deterioration of the category-B listed red sandstone effigy.
Donations are being taken online at wwtv.scot
Mr Rae, of St Boswells, added: “The William Wallace Trust has paid for this ourselves but would much appreciate public or private support for the more extensive work that has to be undertaken for phase two of our planned work on the statue itself.
“The wwtv.scot television station was officially launched on May 28 for the Wallace statue, and if local people visiting would like to help by emailing their pictures and small donations, that would be very much appreciated.”
William Wallace Society spokesperson Isabel Hay added: “I am concerned about the disrepair of the statue.
“It’s in the public interest for this tribute to William Wallace to be saved.
“We, as a society, want to help preserve the Wallace monument and make sure its condition doesn’t get any worse.”
Portrayed by US actor Mel Gibson in the 1995 film Braveheart, Wallace, alive from around 1270 to 1305, was appointed guardian of Scotland in a ceremony at Selkirk in 1297.