Ar­gyll’s Lauder mon­u­ment is re­stored by vol­un­teers

Argyllshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

He was the high­est-paid per­former in the world in 1911, and was the first Bri­tish artist to sell a mil­lion records.

Harry Lauder, later to be­come Sir Harry, was a Scot­tish en­ter­tainer the like of which has never been see be­fore or since. Dur­ing the First World War, and at the height of his fame, he pur­chased the 14,000-acre Glen­bran­ter Es­tate at the head of Loch Eck in Cowal. It was in­tended as a home for his beloved son John and his bride-to-be, Mil­dred Thom­son.

But, shortly af­ter the deeds were ex­changed in 1916 John – a cap­tain in the 8th Bat­tal­ion Ar­gyll and Suther­land High­landers – was shot and killed by a sniper in France. Cap­tain Lauder’s grief­stricken par­ents erected a memo­rial to him at In­ver­noaden, Glen­bran­ter.

More than a cen­tury later, on De­cem­ber 28, 2018, a large turnout of peo­ple gath­ered to com­mem­o­rate the 102nd an­niver­sary of the death of Cap­tain John Lauder and to mark the com­ple­tion of a three-year project to re­store the Lauder Mon­u­ment – orig­i­nally un­veiled in 1921 by Sir Harry.

The £25,000 restora­tion project, co-or­di­nated by con­ser­va­tion char­ity Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, also in­volved the cre­ation of a new car park, along with a new path link, up­grad­ing an ex­ist­ing steep path with stone steps and safety rail­ings and in­stalling two story boards and ad­vance signs.

Fund­ing was se­cured from two land­fill trusts and the Friends of our Park vis­i­tor giv­ing scheme, and many hun­dreds of hours of labour were pro­vided by vol­un­teers to en­sure the project was com­pleted on time.

Lo­cal young­sters con­trib­uted to the com­mem­o­ra­tive event with a se­ries of their orig­i­nal draw­ings de­pict­ing the tragic Lauder story adorn­ing the or­nate rail­ings around the mon­u­ment and poignant let­ter and po­etry read­ings as well as mu­si­cal trib­utes on the bag­pipes, in­clud­ing the poignant tune Bat­tle of the Somme.

There was also a wreath-lay­ing by Ma­jor Don­ald MacLaugh­lan and a reded­i­ca­tion of the mon­u­ment by Rev Dr Robin Macken­zie fol­lowed by the un­veil­ing of a new sto­ry­board be­side the mon­u­ment by lo­cal MSP Michael Rus­sell and a ren­di­tion of Harry Lauder’s fa­mous song Keep right on to the end of the road, which he wrote in mem­ory of his son.

Friends chair­man James Fraser said: ‘The tragic story as­so­ci­ated with the mon­u­ment was very ap­pro­pri­ately brought to life by a num­ber of very tal­ented lo­cal young­sters, and a se­ries of per­ma­nent new sto­ry­boards will en­sure that vis­i­tors to the site in the fu­ture will have a greater un­der­stand­ing of the story of Cap­tain John Lauder and the strong Lauder fam­ily con­nec­tions with the Cowal area.’

Gath­ered to cel­e­brate the com­ple­tion of a three-year restora­tion project.

Fa­mous en­ter­tainer Harry Lauder with his son John.

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