Charlie not yet ex-cockerel
Regular readers will be familiar with the tale of Charlie the cockerel and his early morning greeting to the people of Selkirk which led to his owner Kenneth “Ozzie” Williamson receiving a court order attempting to regulate Charlie's waking hours. When last we heard of Charlie signs were not good. Mr Williamson's solicitor said, "He is not keeping in the best of health. He is certainly not making as much noise as in his younger years." As we perused our regular copies of the Selkirk Weekend Advertiser at the end of last year we feared that Charlie was an ex-cockerel.
A photograph of sculptor Angie Hunter – surrounded by some sculptures of penguins – was accompanied by the caption that she
"would be delighted to craft a memorial to Charlie."
However, the proposed memorial was somewhat premature for Charlie is not yet dead. Instead the media publicity stemmed from a proposal of the vice-chairman of Selkirk community council, Dr Lindsay Neil. He proposed that Charlie should be immortalised in bronze. He said,
"He has already unwittingly put Selkirk on the map and, by the publicity he has generated, he has attracted widespread interest in our town. For that reason alone, he deserves some sort of permanent recognition."
Dr Neil's suggestion that a lifesize statue of Charlie in a cage be erected at Selkirk's historic Toll gateway met with a mixed reception from locals.
Mr William Galbraith embodied the conflict,
"It’s a silly idea. I think it’s gone too far and more has been made of the whole thing because Ozzie is such a character. On the other hand, he has drawn a lot of attention, so maybe it would be a good idea to remember him somehow."
And Adrienne Kay noted that,
"He doesn’t compare to other figures like Sir Walter Scott or Fletcher, but he is a renowned character around here. "
However, it appears that the proposal will not go forward. At Selkirk community council on 12th January former Scottish Borders councillor Gordon Edgar voiced his objections.
"This has put Selkirk in a bad light around the world … At first I thought it was a joke … it has ridiculed the town and made it famous for all the wrong reasons."
Although it appears that it is the potential costs, rather than the objections, that has put the brakes on the proposals.
"The truth, to allay the fears of those who really believe a little bronze statue of a cockerel would inspire perpetual ridicule of Selkirk, is that it will cost a great deal to have one made, so it is unlikely to happen."
But given Charlie's notoriety is there any prospect of a memorial when the grim reaper makes his call at the chicken run? We take some solace in Dr Neil's final word on the matter,
"Perhaps the best we can hope for now with regard to Charlie is a brass plaque."