This beautiful carving which stands around 7ft tall was carved by Pete Bowsher (one of the top carvers in UK) in 2017 as a memorial to the bear which was regularly seen in Beith in the early 1900’s.
This should serve as a reminder of the suffering of these beautiful animals who were made to dance for public entertainment.
Thankfully this practice has been banned in Britain and also many European countries.
It has been carved from Western Red Cedar which should last for many generations’ it has been installed in the small triangle belonging to Smith Brothers at the top of the Strand.
The local schools were involved in naming the bear and suggested 9 names which were voted on on unveiling day, the popular vote was for “Woody”.
Beith Cooperative Funeral Care has had a memorial plaque made in black marble with white writing which is now installed.
The information board on the wall beside “Woody” is now in place. This gives some history of both the bear and Beith’s major contribution to furniture making in Scotland.
The unveiling on Friday 23rd February 2018 was performed by Mr James Gyler of Hillhouse Group on a sparkling day, when 120 dignitaries, invited guests and visitors attended, who after the unveiling were treated to home baking and tea or coffee in the Townhouse, supplied by the ladies of Beith Trefoil Guild, Greenhills WI, Thrift Shop and the Townhouse.
Since the 2018 carving event a memorial bench has been added in memory of Corey Hamilton and Bethany Morris. This was commissioned by the Morris and Hamilton Families and carved by Damon Gorecki from Salt Lake City, Utah.