Public appeal fund reaches £60,000
Plans for a life size statue of Scottish countryside legend Tom Weir on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond are on target to be delivered in time for the 100th anniversary of his birth on 29 December.
The scheme has received a triple boost in the past week with the granting of planning permission from the National Park Authority; agreement to lease the site at picnic area from Stirling Council and news that the public appeal fund has reached £60,000 following a steady stream of donations as a result of the recent launch of the new On Weir’s Way TV series and a range of fundraising activities.
Susan Taylor, administrator of the Tom Weir Memorial Group, and one of the main driving forces behind the campaign to honour Tom Weir, said: ‘’ I am delighted that we are making such good progress with the help of the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs and I can sleep more easily at night now as we are within touching distance of achieving what we set out to do almost three years ago.
‘’The support we are receiving from thousands of people in Scotland and further afield is remarkable. It is testament to the high regard that Tom was held in and reflects the major impact he had in introducing generations to Scotland’s great outdoors through his adventures as a climber, naturalist, writer and broadcaster.’’
James Fraser, chairman of the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, added: ‘’It is great to see this project coming together so well with a tremendous amount of public goodwill and support from a variety of quarters including local businesses, the National Park Authority, Stirling Council and the local Buchanan Community Council in whose area the statue will be located.”
I hope Tom’s statue will be a source of much pleasure to those who visit Loch Lomond in the future. I would like to thank the many thousands of folk who are helping to make this possible
Organisers hope to raise a further £15,000 over the next seven weeks to cover the cost of the statue and immediate site improvements
This will hopefully be followed next year by a £30,000 scheme to improve the rest of the Balmaha picnic area and produce educational materials.
A small-scale model of the statue was unveiled last month to Tom’s widow, 94 year old Rhona Weir, by the sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn who has recently completed a statue of James Herriot and is credited with creating statues of many famous football figures, including Sir Alf Ramsay and Sir Bobby Robson.
This follows on from a successful career in the film industry as a model maker for blockbuster films as diverse as Harry Potter, Phantom of the Opera, Clash of the Titans and the James Bond film Skyfall.
Rhona said: ‘’I am thrilled with the level of detail and likeness to Tom and I am looking forward to the life size version being sited at Balmaha Bay later this year which was one of his favourite spots on Loch Lomondside.
‘’I hope Tom’s statue will be a source of much pleasure to those who visit Loch Lomond in the future. I would like to thank the many thousands of folk who are helping to make this possible and look forward to thanking many of them personally when the statue is unveiled on 29 December.’’
Anyone who would to donate towards raising funds for the statue project and associated picnic area improvements can do so online at lochlomond-trossachs.org or send a cheque to Tom Weir Memorial Statue, c/o Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, The Old Station, Balloch G83 8SS.