Tayport pays respects to Unknown Bairn

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TAYPORT paid its respects to the town’s Unknown Bairn on the 40th anniversary of his discovery.

The toddler’s body was found by local postie Ian Robertson on the foreshore on May 23, 1971, but the mystery of his identity has never been solved.

On Monday, Ian’s son Neil (45) was joined by community representatives at Tayport Cemetery as he laid flowers on the child’s grave.

The five-year-old Neil was walking along the beach with his dad when he found the body.

He said: “Although I was only five I remember it well — it was a wet, windy and gloomy day like today.

“It’s become part of Tayport’s history and when we’ve come to lay flowers it’s been on behalf of the whole community.”

The story has attracted huge publicity over the years, including a TV documentary screened in 2005.

One theory involves a Gypsy Traveller couple questioned during the investigation after being overheard talking about a lost child.

It was thought they may have suffered the death of a son and been unable to meet the associated costs.

But the lead came to naught and despite a nationwide appeal the riddle was never answered.


All that is known is that the boy was aged between two and four and died of natural causes.

Donations came in from across the country for a gravestone, which Ian and his wife Irene took it upon themselves to tend.

Flowers provided by the community council have been laid down annually by the Robertson family for the past 40 years.

Ian was himself laid to rest in Tayport Cemetery, close to the Unknown Bairn, on his death at the age of 75 in 2007.

Among those at the cemetery on Monday was Tay Bridgehead councillor Ron Caird.

He said: “The story of the Unknown Bairn is something everyone in Tayport has been very much aware of for the past 40 years.

“I think the way respects have been paid each year has been a marvellous gesture by the Robertson family and the community council.”

Neil added: “Dad saw him as part of the family and became quite emotional about it.

“Mum carried on laying the flowers after he died but unfortunately she wasn’t well enough to come today.

“But it’s something I’ll keep doing — I can’t stop now.”