Historic wall destroyed by bin lorry

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A garden wall, built more than 23 years ago with irreplaceable features including a firing pin from the One o’Clock Gun and a rivet from the Forth Bridge, has now been reduced to rubble after a bin lorry reversed into it.

William Balloch, 59, spent three months erecting the 4ft wall after work while his wife Joan was pregnant with their second daughter.

His work was undone in seconds after the driver mounted the curb and struck the wall.

Library worker William had left for work when he received a phone call to say it was ruined.

He said: “My heart sank when I saw it. I thought it might just be the corner but the whole thing has come down.

“The guy said his foot had slipped from the pedal but the worrying thing is a kid could’ve been under or anyone walking past.

“We usually let the wee dog out on a morning and it would have been crushed if it was out.

“It holds a lot of sentiment as Joan was pregnant with Amanda at the time and I really wanted to get it done before she came.

“I’d put a few wee things in like a firing pin from the one o’clock gun as I was close friends with Tam the Gun, and an original rivet from the Forth Bridge, picked up by my dad.

“I was full time in the railways when I built it. It was a case of coming home and working on it in the rain on an evening. It stood the test of time until the bin wagon went into it.”

Neighbours saw the vehicle trying to turn in the tight space at the top of the street in the Leith colonies at about 6.30am on Thursday.

Children’s play worker Amanda and mum Joan were shocked when they looked out to find it completely destroyed.

Amanda, 23, said it was irreplaceable as her dad was not well enough to rebuild it.

“I wasn’t bothered about the wall but it’s dad’s wall. It’s quite sentimental as he built it when mum was pregnant with me so it’s always been there.

“It’s completely destroyed and everything underneath it. I just thank god it didn’t come through the house.

Neighbour Heather Marshall, 32, said she would always see William in the garden and it was his pride and joy.

“I remember him building it. It had stood the test of time until this. I walked past it this morning and wondered what had happened.”

William said he would need to get tradesmen in to replace the wall, adding: “It was a great feeling building it in the community. I’d love to build it again but I’m not well enough now.”

A council spokesman said: “We are aware of the situation and are taking appropriate action.”