Len spreads the word about Burns

LEN MURRAY
LEN MURRAY

MILNGAVIE’S verY own Burns aficionado is heading down under for a festival to mark the restoration of the oldest known Burns’ statue.

Retired criminal lawyer Len Murray, right, will be one of the guest speakers at the three day Robert Burns Scottish Festival in the small town of Camperdown in western Victoria, Australia which start next Friday, August 24.

The event is the culmination of a three-year effort to rescue and preserve the world’s oldest surviving statue of Robert Burns, which had stood in Camperdown botanic gardens for 126 years, gradually falling into disrepair due to vandalism and neglect.

Since its restoration it has taken pride of place behind a ceiling-to-floor glass window in the renovated reception area of the town’s revamped civic centre, where it will be floodlit at night.

Mr Murray said: “I have already spoken on Burns on four continents but have not spoken on Burns in Australasia and I am looking forward to it.”

The statue was carved in 1830 by Lanarkshire sculptor John Greenshields for Bailie William Taylor of Leith and it shows a seated Burns with his dog Luath.

After his death, Taylor’s son, William Andrew Taylor, inherited the statue and following his migration to Victoria in 1876 had it shipped out to Australia three years later.