Time for us to bring the Clydesdale home

Lanark Community Development Trust would like to celebrate Lanark's long history of being the home of the Clydesdale Horse
Lanark Community Development Trust would like to celebrate Lanark's long history of being the home of the Clydesdale Horse

A £40,000 fundraising drive has been launched to bring the Clydesdale back to its rightful home by Lanark Community Development Trust.

The money will be used to erect a stunning statue near the grounds of Lawrie and Symington’s auction mart.

As well as funding from grant bodies, the Trust hopes readers and local businesses will also back the campaign.

The idea first came to chairwoman Sylvia Russell after a Clydesdale horse trail was erected – in Hamilton – back in 2014.

“Clydesdales were first bred near Carmichael in the 1700s,” said Sylvia. “They were sold at Lanark Fair from the mid-1700s, then for more than 140 years at the auction mart.

“What the Dickens does Hamilton have to do with it? It really annoyed me but it planted a seed in my mind.”

That bloomed into a campaign to erect a fitting tribute to the Clydesdale in its rightful home.

Sylvia said: “We sought out designs from a number of Scottish sculpture artists but didn’t like any of them. Then I saw a story about a war horse statue in Featherstone and really liked it.”

It was agreed the Bristol firm’s design (right) was a worthy winner. Now, the Trust is in talks to find its home.

Members had hoped to erect the horse on the auction mart roundabout but the council deemed it too small.

Sylvia said: “I offered to take officals through to Livingston to show them statues there but they wouldn’t budge, even though a local councillor put up a good fight for us. So we’re meeting with Lawrie and Syminton soon.”

The Trust is also trying to raise the £40,000 needed to erect the Clydesdale and pay for a schools programme.

“We need an educational element to apply for certain grants,” said Sylvia, “so we’ll be developing an information leaflet and photo exhibition.

“It will provide a catalyst for the community, pupils and visitors alike to learn about our agricultural heritage.

“The Clydesdale Horse Society is helping promote the campaign and we plan to approach anyone with a link to the breed. Clydesdales are used in Budweiser’s marketing in America, for example, so we’ll be writing to them.

“We’re also hoping people and businesses all across Clydesdale will get behind us.”

It is hoped the statue will be erected next summer.

Given Sylvia was instrumental in securing the Spirit of Flight statue at Lanark Loch in 2010 and the Trust the Cameronian Memorial at Winston Barracks this year, we wouldn’t bet against it!

To help, donations can be made by cheque to Lanark Community Development Trust, Castlebank Horticulture Centre, St Patrick’s Road, Lanark ML11 9EG; by Bank Transfer – Sort Code 80 17 02, Account No 06002099, or PayPal to /www.paypal.me/LCDT1140.