AN eight-foot wooden bear, a memorial to the suffering endured by performing animals, has been unveiled in Beith ahead of the town’s chainsaw carving event.

The bear, carved by Pete Bowsher, was officially unveiled by Deputy Provost Robert Barr on Friday, February 23 and was commissioned by Beith Orr Park Neighbourhood Watch.

Its unveiling comes ahead of a major event in the town on September 8, which will see internationally acclaimed chainsaw carvers demonstrate their skills.

Norrie Brown, of the Neighbourhood Watch, said: “We must say a big and very sincere thanks to everyone who helped make this a memorable day for Beith and Garnock Valley.

“We had asked the schools to suggest a name for the bear and all the classes in Beith and Gateside suggested a name. On the day we had made voting sheets available for everyone attending and out of 87 votes cast ‘Woody’ was the name chosen with 36 votes.

“Like many towns in the late 1800s and early 1900s, there was a dancing bear which visited Beith and we should never forget the suffering of these poor beasts who were made to dance for public entertainment. The bear is intended to be a memorial to that effect.”