Mortonhall babies memorial to be installed in Princes Street Gardens

A BRONZE baby elephant sculpture is to be installed in Princes Street Gardens in memory of the victims of the Mortonhall baby ashes scandal.

The elephant sculpture has been designed by Andy Scott. Picture: Andy Scott
The elephant sculpture has been designed by Andy Scott. Picture: Andy Scott

The memorial, designed by renowned Kelpies sculptor Andy Scott, will stand about two metres high and be embossed with a coat of forget-me-not flowers to reinforce that the city will not forget.

It will be the second memorial to the hundreds of babies whose ashes were buried or otherwise disposed of at Mortonhall Crematorium over decades, while parents were being told by staff that none were available after cremation. The scandal was revealed by the Evening News five years ago.

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A memorial garden was opened in the grounds of the crematorium in December 2015 but some parents have said they cannot go back to Mortonhall.

Parents were asked to decide between the elephant design and a rocking horse.

Andy Scott and his team will now work on the memorial which will take up to a year to create and install.

It will feature small footprints leading up to the elephant’s trunk, which is curved as if cradling an invisible infant. An inscription on the plinth will carry a simple description of the nature of the memorial.

City council environment convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “We needed to reflect the wishes of those affected parents who felt a

second memorial should be created in addition to the tranquil walled garden at Mortonhall as they felt unable to go back to the crematorium.

“The baby elephant design is very fitting as it shows Edinburgh will not forget what happened in the past and the site in West Princes Street Gardens will give affected parents and other visitors to the city a place for quiet reflection.”

Sculptor Andy Scott said: “I am deeply humbled to undertake this memorial sculpture for the affected parents of Mortonhall. I have tried to encapsulate emotions of grief and loss but with a sense of uplifting hope for the future.

“The sculpture echoes the adage ‘elephants never forget’ and I hope that the approachable simplicity of the sculpture coupled with its engraved surface of Forget-

Me-Not flowers will create a fitting memorial. I hope the sculpture is used: played with, hugged, and loved, and it will be sculpted to invite interaction of both grown-ups and children.”

Nicola Welsh, chief executive of bereavement charity SANDS Lothians, said: “The memorial will be a lasting legacy and reminder that all our babies are never

forgotten and nor are the families. We would like to remind affected families that our one to one befriending and counselling is available to anyone who needs support. An elephant never forgets and neither do we”