Neighbours chip in to net fish sculpture

A MASSIVE fish is set to be landed on the waterfront after a successful campaign to raise £35,000.

Sculptor Ronald Rae said he was "astonished and humbled" after hundreds of Cramond residents chipped in to bring his eight-tonne sandstone artwork back home.

It will be transported by lorry from the Falkirk Wheel on Tuesday, April 7, to Cramond Beach, where a concrete platform is being prepared.

On Sunday, April 19, hundreds of people are set to gather for the official "splashing in" ceremony, followed by a reception.

Locals launched a fundraising appeal a year-and-a-half ago, after the sculpture had been displayed in Holyrood Park.

Mr Rae produced it at his workshop near Cramond Kirk, where he has worked for more than 20 years.

The sculptor said: "It's astonishing that the local community of Cramond have managed to pull this off, especially in these dark days of the recession. This has been a very humbling experience for me.

"There have been over 300 people who have donated. What moved me most was one wee girl who gave her pocket money.

"They all own the work – it's not mine any more.

"I won't always be here, but it's nice to think that the fish will be here forever for the people of Cramond. It's right on the beach, so at high tide it will be dipping its fins in the water."

The fish was carved in 460-million-year-old pink granite over eight months in 2002. It has been exhibited outside the Natural History Museum in London, as well as at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

The Cramond Fish Appeal was launched in summer 2007, before the sculpture was due to be moved to the Falkirk Wheel. The community council approved a 5000 grant from the local neighbourhood partnership and a further 5000 was donated by the Cramond Association.

The remaining 25,000 was made up by an art sale and hundreds of donations from local businesses and individuals, including several children.

Bill Scholes, chairman of Cramond Community Council, said the fundraising effort had brought the community closer together.

He said: "It's a great achievement and people are very excited about it. We've had a wonderful response. Ronnie is a very well-kent figure here and very much part of the community.

"It's great how many people have chipped in for the fish. Now it will be returning to close by where it was spawned."