Greyfriars Bobby tribute on anniversary of death

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An event marking the life of Edinburgh’s world-famous terrier Greyfriars Bobby was held by his graveside on the anniversary of his death.

The commemoration service, organised by the Council’s Library and Information Service, marked 142 years since the death of the dog, who is said to have kept constant watch over his master’s grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard following his death in 1858.

Robert The Bruce with Bobby look-a-like Maggie. Picture: Greg Macvean

Robert The Bruce with Bobby look-a-like Maggie. Picture: Greg Macvean

Lord Provost Donald Wilson, who welcomed guests to the event, said: “The tale of this devoted dog has inspired both residents of Edinburgh and people the world over so it is fitting that we pay our respects in this way each year. That so many tourists and visitors flock to the memorial site is testament to the effect he has had on our great city.

“His story has become part of Edinburgh’s rich cultural heritage and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved for their support and hard work in bringing this heart warming event together”.

As part of the occasion piper Jennifer Hutcheon played the specially written ‘Tribute to Greyfriars Bobby’, which was performed to the public for the first time at last year’s service, and a Guard of Honour was provided by Strathleven Artizans.

Attendants to the Greyfriars Tolbooth and Highland Kirk ceremony also heard from Andrew Gardiner, Veterinary Clinical Lecturer at The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, on how Bobby was treated by the Dick Vets during the 19th century.

Amongst invited guests was Greyfriars Bobby lookalike Maggie the Cairn terrier, who will be sporting a new coat and badge designed specifically in honour of the dog.

Local children from George Heriot’s School laid wreath on Bobby’s grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard, before the group returned to the Kirk Hall for the remainder of the event, which has received support from the Grassmarket Project.

The iconic memorial statue and water fountain featuring a lifelike bronze statue of Greyfriars Bobby was given a facelift last year, when a campaign highlighted the negative effects of rubbing the model’s nose for luck.

Conservation and restoration specialists cleaned, re-patinated and waxed the nose, which had lost its colour over time.

A trail to track the life and death of the loyal dog was produced by Edinburgh’s Libraries Service in 2013 which draws on historical images, maps and stories from the libraries’ heritage collections, now displayed on the service’s website, Our Town Stories.