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Behind the statue of Hamish

Here, St Andrews in Focus editor Flora Selwyn talks about her love of Hamish and what inspired her to have him immortalised for St Andrews.

It’s funny how ideas come out of the blue. I came back to St Andrews in 1990 as the result of a whim. Then, when I first saw Hamish the cat in Logies Lane in 2006 it occurred to me he was quite a character, so I started writing about him in St Andrews in Focus, which I’d started, also on a whim, 3 years previously. I didn’t know then that Hamish had already been bestowing his favours on our town for 6 years.

Hamish & DavidWhen Susan McMullan told me about her intention to write a book about Hamish McHamish it came to me that a statue could be a fitting addition to what I saw as Hamish’s coming wider fame. If Edinburgh could raise a statue to a mythical dog, why not have a statue to a flesh and blood cat with a real history?

Who could make such a statue? I’ve always admired David Annand’s leaping deer in Dundee, and I knew he was making a statue of Bishop Wardlaw to commemorate the University’s 600th Anniversary. So why not ask David? No harm, I thought; he might either ignore me or quote some astronomical sum no-one could afford. To my delight and amazement I got an immediate reply from David telling me that he is a cat lover, and quoting £5000+VAT. So I asked around, as is my wont, to test reactions. Terrific enthusiasm greeted the idea of a statue of Hamish. The fact that Hamish is still alive added to my own wish to see this thing through, because I reasoned that would be a way to reinforce the story, strengthen the Hamish mystique for all time. So I went to my bank to open an account. It had to be in my name, ‘because he’s a cat’! I tried Crowdfunding, but didn’t find it very satisfactory. However, complete strangers handed me £10 notes in the street. I had £20 notes offered at my door. The money gradually came, but in the end it was clinched by a donation from the Community Council, another from the Community Trust, and the R&A Town Fund which has paid for the plinth. Stonemason Colin Sweeney asked for the bare minimum amount as his contribution to the project. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to everyone for their support, enabling the statue to become reality.

315842_288701604591881_368015007_nFinally, Debbie MacCallum (of the St Andrews Partnership), Viv Collie, Annie Marrs, and Linda-Anne Beaulier planned all the events around the unveiling, which Provost Leishman kindly agreed to preside over. It looks set to be an unforgettable morning this April. Just keep fingers crossed that the Weatherman will be inspired too! I’m more and more convinced that Hamish is psychic, so will keep an eye open to see if he turns up to bless his statue!

If you’d like to learn more about Flora’s Magazine please click here.

 

The unveiling of the statue of Hamish takes place on Saturday 5th April from 10am till 11am in St Andrews Town Hall and Church Square with face painters, stalls, storytelling, book signing and more from 9.30am.