ROBERT Burns groups and cancer charities yesterday hit out at campaigners for “desecrating” a statue of the National Bard with a pair of breasts.
• Placards put up as part of Scottish Government breast cancer awareness campaign
• Burns groups say stunt was a step “too far”
• Organisers hoped placards would draw attention to cause
East Ayrshire Council put placards depicting symptoms of breast cancer on the iconic Burns statue in Kilmarnock as part of the high-profile Detect Cancer Early campaign.
But Burns groups were joined by the local branch of Cancer Research UK in criticising the campaigners for the “offensive” use of the statue.
The controversial images are the same as those used in a high-profile TV campaign featuring actress and comedian Elaine C Smith, whose mother died from breast cancer.
Murdo Morrison, of the Robert Burns World Federation, said: “Whilst the Robert Burns World Federation is totally supportive of all campaigns that draw attention to worthy causes, we consider that this particular attachment to a statue of Robert Burns is offensive to many.
“This is a gimmick too far and placing placards on a statue of a revered person is approaching an action of desecration.
“It is counter-productive for any campaigners to act in this irresponsible way and any minor gain from this action will have an opposite effect from the people of Ayrshire and beyond.”
Ruby Taylor, of Cancer Research UK’s Ayr, Prestwick and Troon branch, said: “I think it is in extremely bad taste to put a poster like that on any statue.”
Campaign organisers insist the images were only intended to be on the statue for a few hours, during which photographers were invited to take pictures of it. The placards were then removed.