Peter Pan at Mearnskirk

Peter Pan at Mearnskirk

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The Story Behind Peter Pan at Mearnskirk

 

pp1One Man’s Dream

Dr John Wilson was appointed as Superintendent of Mearnskirk Hospital in 1929, a post he held until his retiral in 1946. Early in his tenure, Dr Wilson commissioned small cement statues to be placed in the grounds as an attraction for the children who were patients in the hospital. Over time the statues weathered and crumbled and Dr Wilson expressed a wish to replace them with a bronze statue of Peter Pan. Why he chose Peter Pan is not known but it may have been that the freedom embodied in Peter Pan was what he wished for the disabled children in his care.

Dr Wilson died in 1949 before he could arrange for a statue of Peter Pan as during wartime bronze was very scarce. However, before he died, a great supporter of Mearnskirk, Alfred Ellsworth, promised him, “You will have your Peter Pan”. He kept his word and through a series of fund raising concerts Alf and friends raised the funds to erect the Peter Pan Statue at Mearnskirk.

 

pp2Another Man’s Action

Alfred Lewis Ellsworth was a Glasgow confectioner who worked in Bridgeton and lived in Giffnock. He was both a benefactor of Mearnskirk and a frequent visitor.  Alf’s confectionery business was run from 27 Savoy Street in Bridgeton where he produced, plain and nougat wafers and wafer oysters for the ice cream trade in and around Glasgow. Snowballs and chocolate for the confectionary trade were also produced. However, the main line and most distinctive product was the MB chocolate cream “Monster Bar and it is reported that he “never came empty handed” to Mearnskirk and “his pockets were always stuffed with sweets”.

He held fundraising events to support the Hospital and was responsible for many famous personalities of music, theatre and film visiting the hospital for the entertainment of the children and also the staff. There were many famous names including Harry Lauder, Roy Rogers with Dale Evans,Jimmy Logan, Dorothy Lamour, Frankie Laine, Danny Kaye, Dickie Valentine, Ann Shelton, Frankie Vaughan  to name but a few.

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