Robert Burns: Urgent appeal to save birthplace of bard

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An urgent £100,000 appeal has been launched to save the humble cottage where poet Robert Burns was born.

The National Trust for Scotland is seeking help to fund repairs to Burns Cottage in Alloway, Ayrshire, before it is damaged beyond repair.

Urgent repairs are needed at Burns Cottage in Alloway. PIC: NTS

Urgent repairs are needed at Burns Cottage in Alloway. PIC: NTS

The cottage was built in 1757 by Robert Burns’ father, William Burness, but centuries of Scottish winters have taken their toll with the roof, walls and chimney in desperate need of specialist attention.

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Caroline Smith, Operations Manager at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum said: “At the back of the home the traditional thatched roof has developed significant tears and has worn away.

“Towards the front, moss is also beginning to grow, collecting rainwater and rotting the thatch underneath.

“The north-west gable is starting to crack, letting the wind and rain in and damaging the interior plasterwork.”

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Robert Burns, the world’s best known Bard, was born in the cottage in 1759 and it was here just five years after his death that close friends of his hosted the world’s very first Burns supper.

The cottage has been in the care of the National Trust for Scotland since 2008, but the conservation charity is seeking the help of Burns lovers to secure the future of the cottage.

The charity needs to raise £100,000 to save the property.

By giving just £15, donors can help fix the north-west wall; £35 will help restore a patch of thatch and £60 will limewash a section of the walls.

Ms Smith added: “Plans are in place to repair the wall at the end of the cottage, cracks along the walls and windows will be filled, the roof re-thatched and the outer walls re-limewashed, weatherproofing the cottage and protecting it for the future.

“Everything we do at the museum is for the love of Scotland. We are all hugely passionate about the life of Burns and sharing the stories of his life and work but we are asking for help to protect the legacy of Ayrshire’s most famous son.”

To make a donation to the Burns Cottage appeal donate online at nts.org.uk/donate.