Tourists damaging Greyfriars Bobby statue warn campaigners

Greyfriars Bobby's nose is getting very shiny from all the rubbing. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Greyfriars Bobby's nose is getting very shiny from all the rubbing. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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A CAMPAIGN has been launched to save Greyfriars Bobby after damage caused by tourists spread across his face and chest.

A recent trend has emerged for rubbing the nose of the legendary statue in the belief it brings good luck.

But the constant touching has got so bad that the underlying brass metal has been exposed on Bobby’s entire muzzle and even parts of his chest.

Now a concerned local, Evelyn Duncan, has decided enough is enough and has set up a Facebook page to try to stop the damage.

The page, called Greyfriars Bobby – Save Bobby’s Nose, says: “Poor wee Bobby is getting his nose rubbed away. Do people think this is going to bring them luck? It’s not so lucky for Bobby as he soon won’t have a nose.”

Ms Duncan said: “I wanted to find out if anyone else felt the same about the damage to Bobby’s nose.

“Every time I pass the 
monument I have to fight the urge to get out of my car and tell people to stop rubbing his wee nose. It mystifies me that people think rubbing it is going to bring them luck.”

Greyfriars Bobby was installed in the late 19th Century to commemorate a Skye terrier who kept watch over his owner’s grave for many years.

Ms Duncan added: “As far as I know it’s just recently that this has started to become a phenomenon.

“It’s ridiculous, unnecessary vandalism and will eventually spoil the pleasure of the monument for other people. Not to mention the indignity Bobby has to suffer for having a shiny brass nose.”

Reacting to the page, one supporter wrote: “We cannae have that. Just stop it. Get them telt.”

Yesterday visitors were still queuing up to touch the monument.

John Lantz, from the US, said: “Our waitress in the Greyfriars Bobby pub told us that it’s a fairly recent phenomenon. She said when she touched the nose, the same day she got a job at the pub.”

Michael John has been coming to the Edinburgh Festival for four years and shared the belief that the damage to the nose comes from a desire for good fortune.

He said: “Whenever you are bringing a show you have to do it to make sure you have a successful Fringe.

“I have not a clue where it originated from. It has just passed on from person to person.”

A tourist from Italy, Edoardo Machetti, said: “You have to touch the nose for good luck.

“I’m always glancing at other people and seeing that they want to touch Greyfriars’ nose.

“I think it’s because it’s the first funny place you see on the statue.”

A spokeswoman for the council said today: “While he enjoys attention from visitors and loves to have his photo taken, Bobby gets distressed when people rub his nose.

“It really does cause damage to the statue, which is why we urge people to be respectful.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com