Alexander ‘Sandy’ Stoddart, the Queen’s Sculptor for Scotland since 2008, is more used to producing grand monuments, like Joan of Arc or Adam Smith, but his latest work will be on an altogether more modest scale and is probably the most important dog statue in Scotland since Greyfriars Bobby.
More than 200 guests from 14 different nations, including USA, Canada, Scandinavia and Europe, will be flocking to the town for a three-day Dandie Dinmont Festival from today.
As well as the unveiling of the statue, a Dandie Dinmont Discovery Centre will be opened, inside Old Ginger’s original kennels.
The statue was ‘crowd funded’ from within the Dandie Dinmont enthusiasts community, whilst the Kennel Club provided grant funding to enable the renovation and conversion of Old Ginger’s kennels into a Dandie Dinmont Discovery Centre.
Paul Keevil, UK coordinator of the event, said: “The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is very much Scotland’s ‘forgotten dog breed’, but has a committed and passionate following of enthusiasts from around the world. Both myself and my co-organiser, Mike Macbeth from Canada, are not a bit surprised that owners and devotees will be travelling far and wide to attend the festival in the Borders”.
Wilson Young, Kennel Club board director, said: “The Kennel Club Educational Trust is delighted to have been able to support the new Dandie Dinmont Discovery Centre and is honoured to be involved with the opening of the centre on June 4 at The Haining in Selkirk. The relentless dedication that breed enthusiasts have given to the promotion and protection of this wonderful, loving, family dog, as well as support to other vulnerable native breeds in the UK is to be commended.”
Manuela Calchini, Visit Scotland regional partnerships director for the South of Scotland, said: “The Dandie Dinmont is such an iconic, rare breed, originating from the Scottish Borders, and it is fantastic that the region is hosting this celebration in the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.”
She added “Scotland’s history and culture are among the top reasons for visiting Scotland and the opening of this permanent tribute to the Dandie Dinmont Terrier at the home of the breed, demonstrates a real commitment to further enhancing our region’s tourism offering. We feel sure it will attract more visitors wishing to delve into the past and to discover some of the hidden gems and fascinating stories that they perhaps weren’t previously aware of in the Borders.”
And Michelle Ballantyne, chair of the board of trustees for The Haining Charitable Trust said: “The Haining Trustees are delighted to welcome such a unique canine event to the estate.
“It is set to be a wonderful weekend of celebration and the trustees and volunteers of The Haining will be working hard to ensure that Old Ginger’s home will provide a fantastic backdrop for his 175th birthday celebrations.”