Pictured here back on Tuesday 26th July 2016 is John Dunsmore (Wee Yanni). John is a frequent visitor to Blantyre Project and well known to me and to the rest of the Veverka family.
This kind soul is passionate about Blantyre and a fellow member of the Friends of the Calder Group. I have written previously about a beautiful carving at Crossbasket river called “Wee Yanni Pool” that John was responsible for, and now his work is known, he will be credited fully for doing so in a forthcoming revision to my Blantyre Project 2 book.
John has recently taken time to clean a couple of important plaques and signs in Blantyre, including the relatively recent renaming of Stonefield Park to McAnulty Park. However, it was the High Blantyre Pit Memorial that caught his eye recently as being something that desperately needs some attention. The wording on the monument had faded to the point of it being difficult to read.
On Tuesday 26th July 2016, John told me he had enquired at the Miners Welfare about renovating the signage on the 1877-1977 memorial at Kirkton. With nobody appearing too interested, he took it upon himself (thankfully) to attend to the words on the existing monument, cleaning them, making them stand out and last for another generation.
John is an extremely skilled tradesman. I recently had the pleasure of talking to John on a community walk around the Calder and enjoyed hearing about his latest exciting project to enhance Blantyre, a wee secret and legacy, which remains private at his request.
John’s work on the Dixon’s Pit Monument at Kirkton was noticed at the time by my friend and history colleague Alex Rochead, who took this photo of Wee Yanni that Summer day. Thanks John, for this and all your efforts. I’m sure all of Blantyre appreciates your attention to detail, your skill and accomplished efforts.
“Wee Yanni” by Paul Veverka 2016
If yer ever oot walkin, by yon bonny Clyde,
or fishin murky Calder waters, by day or by night,
Ye jist might bump intae dear John,
Mr Dunsmore, if ye dinna ken his full name.
A kind herted fellow, with Blantyre in mind,
known as “wee Yanni” tae most folks, ye’ll find.
Retired sculptor, an tradesman o’ skill,
He certainly knows how tae gie us a thrill,
Try tae beat that, ah bet ye canny,
He’s the pride o’ Blantyre, oor pal, wee Yanni.