Melrose mourns death of the man who put the doll’s head in the wall

The man behind Melrose’s famous doll in the wall died at the age of 88 this month.

George McDonald, formerly of Melrose, died after a battle with mesothelioma cancer on Friday, December 6, in Blairgowrie Cottage Hospital, Perthshire.

The retired builder was best known for being one of the men who put the doll’s head in the wall at St Mary’s Road in the 1960s.

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George lived in Darnick at the time and worked for N Galloway’s builders. He left Melrose, with his wife Anne, in 1971 to work overseas in Rhodesia before retiring to Perthshire.

George returned home to Melrose this spring after having been tracked down by local builder Cameron Shand who had come across George’s doll head when he was repairing the wall.

Creating a bit of a nostalgic stir, he met with George to show him the familiar face’s replacement.

George told us then: “I was repairing quite a substantial part of that wall back in 1962.

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“I can’t remember how I came to build the doll’s face into the wall, but I think I brought it from home, if I mind right.

“I never dreamt someone would come across it now.

“I am so pleased someone has replaced it. It’s a real memory, and it certainly lasted a long time,” he said.

“When I used to come back from overseas, if I was in Melrose I always used to go down and have a look at the doll’s head.

“I’m just delighted Cameron thought to save the original and replace it. It’s a lovely thing do to.

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“It was such a long time ago, but I always wondered whether the St Mary’s School children from that time gave the doll a name. I hope so, but who knows.”

George’s unusual contribution to Melrose will live on, for a stone displaying his initials G McD, as well as others JG, RR and WW, was also uncovered within the wall this year.

George is survived by his wife Anne, his daughters Lynn and Kirsty, son-in-laws Brent and Paul and grandchildren Bradley and Kura.

His funeral service was held on Wednesday, December 18, at Perth Crematorium.

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