Angus Council has made good an embarrassing gaffe which was cast in stone in Kirriemuir town centre.
In May we revealed the local authority had misquoted the town’s famous son, Sir J M Barrie, on paving slabs which feature as part of the £1.1 million town centre re-development.
Local historian David Orr was quickly on the case and questioned the authenticity of “Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting”, which winds its way around the Peter Pan statue.
At the time he said: “Local JMB experts have since checked online about the quote and it seems no one knows where it came from, nor how it came to be widely attributed to J M Barrie. Barrie may have said it in an interview, but the point is there is no evidence of it in his book or the stage script. We need to get the quote changed to one which can genuinely be sourced to J M Barrie and Peter Pan.”
Angus Council stated at the time that, while the quotation has been “widely attributed” to the famous author, there was “a lack of absolute certainty over its origins”. They added: “As such, we feel it is appropriate to replace it with one that can be incontrovertibly traced to the work of the great J M Barrie.” So it was back to the drawing board for the council as they sought a more appropriate quotation which now completes the town centre. It reads: “Come on we’ll fly... I’ll teach you how to jump on the wind’s back and then away we go” - found early in Barrie’s book Peter and Wendy and the first act of the play Peter Pan.
Mr Orr noted: “Long time since May when the council said they would replace the offending “Barrie” slabs within two weeks, but hey ho, it seems they have at last quietly replaced them last week. My message for the councillors would be that we all ken that councillors can ayewis flap their wings; but they dinnae aye flee! Maybe I have just paraphrased what was also said in Peter Pan - “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”
An Angus Council spokesman said: “We’re pleased to say that the new inscription is now in place in Kirriemuir Town Square.”
The redevelopment of the Square was carried out under the five-year Kirriemuir Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme run in partnership with Historic Scotland.