Story behind comforting Strathcarron Hospice bench sculpture rediscovered

The story behind the bench outside Strathcarron Hospice, featuring a girl and her dog, has been rediscovered thanks to an appeal on social media.

By Fiona Dobie
Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 12:30 pm
The story of the bench featuring a girl and her dog had been unknown to current hospice staff.
The story of the bench featuring a girl and her dog had been unknown to current hospice staff.

Staff say the girl and her dog provide comfort and a smile to all who sit beside them, with animals so important in the lives of many patients and their families.

The hospice in Fankerton has welcomed dogs and even horses over the past 40 years.

However the sculptured bench has been a feature at the site for as long as anyone at the hospice can remember and unfortunately the story behind the pair was unknown.

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Girl and her Dog was created by sculptor David Annand and unveiled in 1996.

That is until now.

The Strathcarron team put the questions out to locals and supporters via their social channels to see if they could shed any light on its story.

A spokesperson for the hospice said: “The response was overwhelmingly positive.

"Hundreds of people liked, commented and shared their many wonderful stories of how much the sculpture means to some, as well as offering their ideas of when it was created.”

Among the comments received were ‘I was drawn to it immediately when my mum was in Strathcarron. I think it tells its own story.’ and ‘The love from that dog to the young lady is similar to the love everyone receives at the hospice.’

Following their social media appeal the team can confirm the sculpture was gifted to the hospice around the time of the nursing wing extension.

Sculptor David Annand, from Fife, created his ‘Girl and her Dog’.

David said: “The caring (profession) and the benefits of pets being allowed to visit Strathcarron was the inspiration behind the sculpture.

"It was based on my daughter and a friend’s black labrador.”

It was unveiled by HRH Princess Anne on a visit in 1996.

David added: “I got a row from the nurses for having my hands in my pockets when photos were being taken with HRH!”

David has been a public artist and sculptor since he left college in the early 1970s.

Most of his work is commissioned and in the public domain, many having poetry inscribed on them.

Among the many sculptures he has created are Mary Queen of Scots outside Linlithgow Palace and the Black Bitch of Linlithgow on the town’s High Street.

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