The bronze commemorative book at Horn Hill, a tribute to Kelso-born poet Will Henry Ogilvie, was stolen between the end of July and late August, as reported in last week’s Hawick News, and has yet to turn up.
Inscribed with lines from Ogilvie’s poem The Road to Roberton, the cairn was unveiled in August 1993, on the 30th anniversary of his death, by his son George.
Years of effort by what was then called the Will H Ogilvie Memorial Committee went into raising the thousands of pounds needed for the cairn, although William Landles, the sculptor who carved the book, gave his services free of charge.
Mr Landles, latterly of Cleadon in South Tyneside but originally of Hawick, died last month at the age of 92, and Will H Ogilvie Memorial Trust chairman Ian Landles, a relative of his, said it was a mercy of sorts that he didn’t live to learn of the theft as he would have found it very upsetting.
“It came as a great shock to learn that the bronze book was gone,” said Mr Landles, of Hawick.
“It depicts both Will’s Border and Australian verse.
“It’s ironic that it was taken more or less in the week that William died. Thankfully, he didn’t have to be told the news. It would have broken his heart.
“This wasn’t a spur-of-the moment act. It is incredibly sad that someone came armed with tools with the intention of wantonly destroying this priceless work of art.
“We hope that whoever has removed it has realised that it is too hot to handle and dumped it somewhere and that, like Hawick’s provost’s chain and the Walkerburn war memorial, it will be returned soon to where it belongs.
“It will not be worth anything at all to them, but it means a lot to us.”
Mr Landles is appealing to anyone with possible information on the whereabouts of the book to contact him on 01450 375546 or trust vice-chairman Philip Murray on 01450 850219.
The police are also appealing for potential witnesses to call them on 101 or, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555111.