£100,000m pledged for St Andrews landmark

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A prominent landmark in St Andrews could be set for a major refurbishment following the ongoing success of a fundraising campaign which has caught the imagination of the local community.

An initiative to restore the 170-year-old iconic Martyrs’ Monument on the town’s sea front has taken major strides forward, with almost £100,000 now pledged for the cause.

The appeal - it is being led jointly by St Andrews Community Council, the St Andrews Partnership and St Andrews Preservation Trust - has been boosted over recent weeks with several large donations, and there is now growing optimism that the project to restore the ornate stonework of the structure to its former glory could get under way next year.

Chairman of the committee overseeing the programme, Ray Pead, told the Citizen yesterday (Thursday): ”Several significant grants from locally-based organisations and private donors have been confirmed recently, and we are very hopeful that further substantial sums will be pledged in the coming weeks, taking us even closer to our target figure.

“But we also want to stress that small donations from local people are equally welcome - we have received contributions as small as £5 and, as a community appeal, these are just as important as the larger ones.

”We realise that many other charities also ask for funds at this time of year, and they are of course worthy of support, but the Martyrs’ Monument restoration gives everybody who cares about St Andrews the opportunity to help conserve and restore an important part of the town’s history.”

The latest contribution came from St Andrews Kilrymont Rotary Club and its secretary, Will Aitken, explained: “Our weekly meetings take place in the Scores Hotel overlooking the monument and our members felt it would be highly appropriate for us to support the fundraising appeal.’’

The monument standing sentinel on The Scores looking out to sea was constructed in 1842 to commemorate four leading Protestant figures who were burned at the stake in St Andrews during the 16th century - Patrick Hamilton, Henry Forrest, George Wishart and Walter Myln - and highlights the important role that the town played in the Reformation.

Designed by William Nixon, the obelisk, which stands just over 10 metres tall and is placed on a square plinth, is crumbling at an alarming rate. Pieces of masonry have been seen to fall off and Fife Council has erected a fence around it for safety reasons.

Erosion caused by the weather, environmental pollution and salt-laden moisture from the sea has ravaged the locally-quarried sandstone used to construct the memorial.

It is proposed to undertake remedial works to help prevent further damage to the monument and to restore some of its most attractive and interesting features, including inscriptions and ornamental stone carvings.

Indicative specialist costings have estimated that the refurbishment could cost as much as £180,000. A contract is to be formally tendered shortly and a confirmed fund raising target figure will be known and publicised early in the New Year.