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Giant bear sculpture designed by Kelpies artist unveiled

The five-metre steel statue displayed in Dunbar pays tribute to the legacy of John Muir.

Sculpture: Dunbar Primary School children welcomed the bear

A towering bear sculpture has been unveiled in Dunbar, marking the legacy of one of East Lothian’s most famous sons.

The five-metre steel model – designed by Andy Scott, the artist behind the Kelpies in Falkirk – will take its place as part of the Halhill development off the A1.

The statue pays tribute to John Muir, who was born in Dunbar in 1838 and later played a key role in the development of American’s national parks.

The “influential character” emigrated from Scotland in 1849 and is renowned for petitioning the US Congress for the National Park Bill, establishing the Yosemite National Park.

Scott, a graduate of Glasgow School of Art who has completed more than 70 projects across the United Kingdom, said his latest work will “enlighten people about the man and his work”.

He said: “It is fantastic to see this sculpture finally being erected as part of the Hallhill development, especially in memory of such an influential character as John Muir, which is particularly apt given today’s focus on the environment.

“This bear sculpture will provide an opportunity to enlighten people about the man and his work.

“It is a symbol of the wilderness John Muir was such a passionate advocate of and is testament to his incredible desire to protect the natural environment.”

The unveiling was marked by a reception, with children from Dunbar Primary School in attendance.

A competition will now be undertaken to name the bear, which will light up using renewable energy.

Angela Leitch, chief executive of East Lothian Council, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that Andy Scott’s latest eye-catching sculpture has been unveiled here in East Lothian.

“It’s a highly appropriate way of paying tribute to John Muir, one of the county’s most famous sons, who played such an influential role in the development of America’s national parks.

“It complements fantastic attractions such as John Muir’s Birthplace in Dunbar and the John Muir Way, which continues to be a popular trail with visitors and locals alike.

“At five metres high, we’re sure the sculpture will become a real talking point, helping to draw even more visitors to the area.”

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