Knitting group creates ‘non-offensive’ Scottish gollies

The 'Scgoli' has been taken all around the world. Picture: SWNS
The 'Scgoli' has been taken all around the world. Picture: SWNS
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A group of knitters have created what they say are “non-offensive” gollies with a Scots twist with blue skin, red hair and a kilt - called SCGOLIS.

Morag Douglas and her friends came up with their ‘Scgoli’ after ‘’reminiscing’’ about old childhood toys golliwogs - since deemed racist.

The 'Scgoli' made it to Australia on one trip. Picture: SWNS

The 'Scgoli' made it to Australia on one trip. Picture: SWNS

They discussed how traditional gollies had become the subject of racist debates in recent years due to their depiction of black people.

The dolls are usually considered a black caricature with large red lips, afro-style hair and dressed in traditional minstrel clothing.

But Morag, Margaret Iwa and Fiona McLeod thought they could create a “non-offensive Scottish version of the doll”.

They have taken the dolls on trips around the world, sharing hundreds of snaps of flame-haired Scgoli in different locations.

The Scgolis have blue skin and red hair. Picture: SWNS

The Scgolis have blue skin and red hair. Picture: SWNS

READ MORE: Edinburgh museum could remove ‘offensive’ golliwog display

And the doll’s adventures are now set to be published in a new children’s book.

Morag, 47, who owns a pub in Burntisland, Fife, said: “The idea came about at our knitting club.

“We were talking about a story we had seen in the news about a controversy surrounding gollies.

“One thing led to another and eventually we came up with the idea to create a non-offensive Scottish version of the doll.

“It’s an old classic with a Scottish twist. We never had any idea how successful he was going to become.”

The Scgoli doll is nine inches tall and completely blue to symbolise Scotland’s cold climate.

He also has curly ginger hair and wears a kilt.

And when the doll became a success with punters in their village of Burntisland, Fife, Morag and her friends decided to make additional ones - a dad and a granny.

The knitters even set up social media profiles featuring hundreds of snaps showing the dolls visiting destinations around the world.

Punters from The Star pub have taken the cuddly toys to places as far as Monte Carlo, London, Dublin and Malta.

Morag said: “It just started off as a bit of fun and we started to take the dolls on adventures.

“Loads of people follow and like him and he seems to have a lot of fans. People are very keen to react with him.

“A lot of people had them has kids so I think that’s why he is so popular.”

READ MORE: A brush with racism in doll’s house

The knitters are now publishing a book about Scgoli’s adventures which is aimed towards five to eight-year-old children.

It will be available from Black Wolf Edition and Publishing Ltd next month and will be distributed across ten different countries including Japan, Canada.

Former admin manager Margaret, 69, says she has really enjoyed making the doll and believes the book will be a success.

She said: “I have two grandchildren and after hearing about Scgoli getting his own book, they went bananas.

“We’re planning to do more stories which are based around where he has been.

“We have to keep asking ourselves, is this actually real? We need to try and keep our feet on the ground.”

Margaret also said they are considering to produce more dolls, but because of the delicate process of making them, she believes this would be a challenge.

She added: “There is no way we could keep up with demand. To do it on a big scale is just not feasible, but we are looking into ways around that.”

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