The National Trust for Scotland’s Burns Monument in Alloway is set to receive a significant financial boost towards vital restoration works.
It’s all thanks to the fundraising efforts of a band of local volunteers - the Friends of Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.
A donation of £30,000 will be handed over by the Friends to the National Trust for Scotland at a public meeting later this month, specifically for repairs to the early nineteenth-century monument, the world’s first memorial dedicated to the life and work of Robert Burns.
Since their formation in 2013 the group have organised an array of fundraising events, established and staffed a shop in the monument gardens, sold Christmas trees over the festive period and provided a range of voluntary support for the Trust’s properties in Alloway. In 2016, the Friends worked with staff at the property to reintroduce an exclusive Burns Supper in the humble cottage where the bard was born in 1759. The Market Inn Burns Club were the latest group to show their support, donating £500 to the Friends earlier this summer.
Hugh Farrell, Chairman of the Friends of Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, said: “The Friends are delighted to make this donation, all thanks to the efforts of our active volunteers. There are great rewards in knowing that we are playing a part in the return of this iconic monument to its initial pristine condition. We look forward to the Burns Monument again being a fitting tribute to our National Bard and to its being a wonderful visitor attraction in its own right.”
The Burns Monument, designed by architect Thomas Hamilton in the early stages of a distinguished career, was paid for by public subscription and finished in 1823. Having suffered from exposure to the elements for the past 200 years, repairs will be made to its masonry, the internal cupola will be cleaned and its original decorative finish restored, ensuring this important piece of heritage remains for future generations.
Specialist preparatory work has been taking place at the monument in recent months and main works are due to start on-site in the new year.