Burgh Beautiful Linlithgow (part of Linlithgow Burgh Trust – Scottish charity number SC047211) is promoting the creation of a new sculptural feature at the Canal Basin in Linlithgow. The proposal is for a bronze sculpture of a cat, mounted on a granite pedestal, broadly similar in nature to Greyfriars Bobby in Edinburgh. For this to be provided to best effect, improvements to its setting are required, primarily the removal of an ugly leaning telegraph pole and rationalisation of nearby signs, noticeboards, seats and bins. So far, British Telecom (Openreach) has been successfully persuaded to remove the telegraph pole as its (very substantial and now complete) contribution to the project.
The aims of the project are:
- to enhance the Upper Linlithgow and Union Canal Conservation Area
- to add to the upgrading of the environment of the Canal Basin, a project started by the Linlithgow Union Canal Society over forty years ago;
- to further Burgh Beautiful’s interest in adorning the town with public art;
- to reflect the artistic, cultural and personal interests and associations of Liz Burrows (a founding Burgh Beautiful member who sadly died a number of years ago and left money in her will for this sort of project - Liz lived by the Union Canal, was an active member of the Linlithgow Union Canal Society and had a much-loved cat called Dudley);
- to encourage tourism by providing a sculptural feature which will hopefully become one of the ‘sights of Linlithgow’ to visit and be photographed beside, as well as becoming a notable civic landmark for walkers using the well-established footpath link along the canals between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Any donations received up to £2,000 will be used to complete the financial package required to deliver the art and environmental improvement project; money above that will be used to pay for the colourful plants which will adorn the adjacent flower bed over the next three summers.
DUDLEY - A BIOGRAPHY
Dudley was the much-loved cat of Liz Burrows of Linlithgow. He was a rescue cat who had come to her via Lothian Cat Rescue and had been named after the area of Edinburgh where he was found – Duddingston. It was unclear whether he was a lost pet or a stray – it seemed that the former was perhaps more likely as Dudley was not an ordinary moggy. He was identified as an ‘ocicat’ – so named because of the breed’s resemblance to the wild ocelot.
He was a cat with a strong personality – very vocal, he always made his presence felt, sometimes to embarrassing effect in public – he had the loudest miaow ever heard!
Dudley lived a happy and comfortable life with Liz and her elderly mother in a house by the canal to the west of the Canal Basin, where lots of attention was lavished on him by both women.
Liz had been aware for some time that she was terminally ill and, when her health began to deteriorate further, friends agreed that they would take Dudley in on her death. This is thought to have set her mind at rest, and it was good for them to be able to do that, despite the fact that they had no experience in looking after cats, and one of them was definitely more into dogs! All doubts were dispelled though, Dudley being found to be a friendly and affectionate cat with a lovely temperament who wanted nothing more than enough food to eat and a cosy, welcoming lap to curl up on – and a garden for chasing mice!
Dudley was 12 years old when it became clear that something was wrong. Although he was eating, he was losing weight with diarrhoea and vomiting. An exploratory operation revealed advanced cancer, and goodbye had to be said to him on the vet’s operating table. Almost three years on, he is still fondly remembered and much missed.
A cat sculpture on the canal towpath in the planned location opposite the Canal Centre seems not only an appropriate use of the final part of Liz’s legacy – she was a member of the Canal Society as well as a founder member of Burgh Beautiful Linlithgow – but also a fitting tribute to a rather special cat - and perhaps a monument to all much-loved cats.