Have your say on Linlithgow’s statues

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A public consultation is set to get underway this week as Burgh Beautiful Linlithgow looks for engagement with the public.

The organisation has arranged the event to discuss its proposals to erect sculptures celebrating Linlithgow’s iconic ‘Black Bitch’ and ‘St Michael and the Serpent/Dragon’, as depicted on the town’s ancient burgh seal and coats of arms.

This will take place at the Low Port Centre, on Wednesday, March 27, from 2.30pm until 7.30pm.

Ron Smith, convenor of Burgh Beautiful Linlithgow, said: “This is everybody’s chance to have a look at four eminent sculptors’ ideas of how the sculptures would look and to give their votes for the ones they like best.

“They will also be able to express their preferences for the inscriptions which will appear on the bases and give provide us with any other views they may hold on the project.

“We have just received planning permission for the two sculptures. That of the ‘Black Bitch’ will form the centrepiece of a new seating area opposite St Peter’s Church in the High Street while St Michael will be situated in the recently landscaped area outside Low Port Primary School.”

Mel Oxbrow, Burgh Beautiful public art group member, said: “This is a really exciting project which will bring more top-class public art into the town and make it even more attractive.

“We’re delighted to have just received planning permission for both parts of the project so now we want community feedback on the finer details.”

Fellow group member Shirley Smith added: “We’re heavily involved in fund-raising at the moment with several grant applications having been submitted but we recognise that much of the money needed will come from local residents.

“To this end we have set up a ‘Crowdfunder’ campaign which is planned to start on May 1, and donations from local organisations, families and individuals are always very welcome at any time.

“For a very good start, we’re pleased that a good proportion of the funding has already been pledged from the ring-fenced public art fund created by the Linlithgow Town Centre BID and the Linlithgow & Linlithgow Bridge Town Management Group.”

The well-known local historian Bruce Jamieson is very much involved with the project and who has taken the lead role in encouraging children and young people to become involved.

He said: “I’ve spoken at several school assemblies and have been really impressed by the pupils’ knowledge of the town insignia and associated legends – we are really looking forward to seeing their artistic and written interpretations which will be put on show at the second public consultation event at the end of May.”