The long-awaited statue of Niel Gow, one of Perthshire’s most famous musicians, has been unveiled near his childhood home in Dunkeld.
The renowned fiddler, who regularly played with Robert Burns and performed for Bonnie Prince Charlie, was born at Strathbaan in 1727.
Fans have waited 17 years to build the memorial statue of Gow in the Perthshire village where a festival takes place every year celebrating his music at Birnam Arts Centre.
Pete Clark, one of the main campaigners behind the statue, believes supporters helped fundraise between £20,000 and £30,000 to make the idea a reality.
He told The Courier: “It has been a long time and a lot of hard work by a lot of people.
“It will remind people who live here about Niel Gow but more importantly it will inform visitors.
“They’ll drive down and have a day in Dunkeld and they will wonder who the fiddler is and they will be able to read the plaque and find out.”
The campaigner believes the statue is the first of Niel Gow anywhere in the world.
As the memorial was being lifted into place along the Perth Road on Thursday, Pete continued to feel the support of passers-by.
“It’s there for all to see,” he said.
“When it was going up there was a lot of people stopping and asking questions.
“It’s great to see it happen, it looks great in place now.”
With both last years and next years Niel Gow Festivals cancelled due to Covid-19, Pete is hoping a day can be arranged at the new statue to celebrate the fiddler’s work and properly unveil the memorial.
He said: “We’ll have some sort of event
“The lockdown kicked in just days before the festival last year and looking at next year it’s cancelled in March as well.
“So we’ll just have to wait out the pandemic and when it’s clear we’ll plan something.”
The addition of the bronze-plated sculpture, which was made by Cupar-based artist David Annand, was welcomed by Perthshire politicians.
Depute First Minister John Swinney said: “Niel Gow is widely regarded as one of Perthshire’s finest cultural exports.
“To that end, it is only right that his talent and legacy are honoured.
“This is a proud day for Dunkeld, and I would like to thank the fans of Niel Gow who have worked tirelessly to ensure that we arrive at this moment.”
SNP MP Pete Wishart, a former keyboard player with Runrig, said he was “over the moon” to know the statue had arrived.
He said: “Niel Gow’s work is celebrated the world over and it is fitting that this tribute to him will forever stand in his beloved Perthshire home.”