Voytek the bear might not be there (yet), but volunteers are hard at work preparing the ground for the dedication of a Polish Memorial in Redbraes Community Garden at 3pm on Sunday 9 November.
The ceremony, which will be attended by the Polish Consul General, Aleksander Dietkow, and Mark Lazarowicz, the MP for Edinburgh North and Leith, is the outcome of many months discussion with members of the Polish community. And some serious hard work.
Having secured two huge pieces of sandstone for the memorial, Simon Daley the local community policeman, set off for Growmore, the Fife plant nursery with Becky Govier, the garden designer.
Polish volunteers will then join them to plant up the ground by the entrance to the garden before the memorial stones arrive. Meanwhile Przemek Dudarewicz (Shremeck) Lukas Dabros and Pawel Gucik have already been to help with some of the really heavy work [seen here on the right]. And Simon is not ruling out the chances of finding a statue of Voytek (or Wojtek, the Polish troops second world war mascot who ended his days in Edinburgh Zoo).
“As usual I am pretty confident things will work out!” emails Simon, who has indeed proved to be a formidable force in securing gifts, sponsorship and voluntary hard labour, so look out for Voytek/Wojtek the bear (listen to this
of how he was found by troops in Iran during the second world war).
Simon points out that the sandstone memorial recognises the long connection between Scotland and Poland and celebrates the contribution made by Poles here in Scotland and the many thousands of Scots who have settled in Poland. Servicemen’s organisations and community associations will be there and the public will be very welcome on Sunday 9 November at 3pm.
Pictured below: one of the latest additions to Redbraes, the shed built by Davey, Julian and Simon (seen in the doorway with his daughter Erin). Or as Becky calls it, “our beautiful glow-in the dark shed” – the paint was a special offer but it could catch on!