IT was a sight that brought a smile to the joggers, students and dog walkers venturing into the Meadows yesterday – thousands of tiny hearts strung together to decorate hedges and trees across the central park.
And today the Evening News can reveal the identity of the 19-year-old Edinburgh University student behind the Valentine’s Day gesture designed to bring a warm, fuzzy glow to members of the public.
Ally Ebdon visited the Meadows at 7am on the most romantic day of the year to decorate the natural surrounds with a 500m-long line of the red, white and pink paper hearts.
The linguistics student from Newington had started cutting out the creations a week earlier. Only a few of her friends were aware of the Valentine’s surprise.
The budding artist came up with the idea while walking to class through the Meadows each day.
She said: “I saw the trees and they looked really lovely and I just thought it’d be a nice place to decorate and it would look really romantic because that’s what Valentine’s Day is about.
“A couple of joggers went past as I was putting them up. It was really nice – I was expecting to get a couple of people yelling at me and saying ‘what are you doing?’
“But a couple of people had said it made them really happy and someone said it had brightened their day. It was really positive, it made me really happy.
“I walked through there a couple of times today just to try and see people’s reactions, but I didn’t want to be too obvious because I was grinning like mad. I’ve been enjoying watching people smile with it.”
The heart-warming act did not stem from being a love-starved singleton.
Ally, a self-confessed Valentine’s Day fanatic, said she had a boyfriend and often made the point of designing something different for him for February 14 each year.
She said: “Last year I made him a music box. I made him a tail coat once because I’d watched Pride and Prejudice. I don’t know if he liked it as much as I did.”
The creative student has never resorted to giving a special someone a teddy bear for Valentine’s Day.
She said: “There’s a lot of emphasis on those horrible stuffed bears and everything. I don’t think that’s what Valentine’s Day is about. It’s about feeling happy rather than all the commercialism.”
Ally has been running an online craft blog site, www.nowthatspretty.blogspot.co.uk, for the past six months.
A rose petal clutch bag and Valentine’s themed decorations are amongst her do-it-yourself suggestions.
The teenager said: “Every week I do a craft thatanyone can do. The idea’s to encourage people to do crafting.”
Ally was intending to take down her creations today, but said the idea’s success had inspired her to make it more than a one-off. “I haven’t got anything planned yet, but I’ll keep you posted,” she said.