FP100: No. 2

Sir Jimmy Shand statue
Sir Jimmy Shand statue

Sir Jimmy Shand

The bronze sculpture of Auchtermuchty’s most famous resident was unveiled in September 2003, three years after the great man’s death.

Although he wasn’t originally from ‘Muchty, Sir Jimmy Shand lived there for many years and to Scots worldwide his name is synonymous with the burgh.

The proposal to erect a statue in his name was initiated by the Sir Jimmy Shand Sculpture Project, which received funding from all over the world.

Donations totalling around £42,000 flooded in from Scottish dance bands; accordion and fiddle clubs; the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society and Masonic, Burns and Probus Clubs as well as individuals.

Kilmany sculptor David Annand was commissioned to create a life-sized bronze sculpture and it was unveiled by Sir Jimmy’s close friend Lord Elgin.

Mr Annand described the fund-raising campaign as ‘incredible’, saying: “It shows us the man’s charisma, the man’s popularity, so you try to capture some of that by the fact that he’s just standing there, music’s coming out, yet he’s got this very powerful presence.”

The sculpture is based on a pose of Sir Jimmy from his early performing years in the 1950’s, chosen by his family.

They also chose where it was to be sited - in a small garden area in Upper Greens in the heart of ‘Muchty, and it has become an important visitor attraction for the area.

The sculpture also has a commemorative plaque bearing the inscription ‘Happy to meet, sorry to part, happy to meet again.’

Sir Jimmy’s association with Auchtermuchty began in 1972, when he moved there after a bout of ill-health.

By that time, he was a household name on a worldwide basis; had sold millions of records; won numerous awards and been made an MBE.

He had even made it into the pop charts with his hit single, ‘Bluebell Polka’, which he recorded in 1955.

By the time in died in 2000 at the age of 92, his career had spanned some 70 years and he’d composed more than 300 tunes.

Sir Jimmy was born in East Wemyss, the sixth of nine children.

His father played the melodeon and this musical environment in the home nurtured young Jimmy’s interest in music from a very early age.

Jimmy left school at 14 and spent his early working life in the mining industry. After the General Strike in 1926 he vowed never to go back down the coalmines so he changed jobs to work with the Fife Power Company.

After six-years of various part-time jobs, Jimmy was offered a position as a salesman and demonstrator by Charles S Forbes at JT Forbes music shop, Dundee - a move that was to change his life.

He began recording solo, and with his band, for record labels such as Regal-Zonophone and Beltona.

After the War, he formed the Shand Band, with whom he made hundreds of TV and radio broadcasts and became an integral part of Hogmanay celebrations.

He was a favourite with the Queen and the Queen Mother and was was knighted in 1999.