THE sweet-seller behind the Ally Bally Bee lullaby will return to Galashiels this summer.

A stunning bronze of Robert Coltart is currently being sculpted and is due to be erected in the town's Market Square - close to where he first made his famous Coulter's Candy - around August.

And he will be joined by two additional bronzes - of a boy and girl - later in the year.

The three-piece commemoration is being designed and made by Innerleithen sculptor Angela Hunter.

Originally from Galashiels, Angela has worked alongside local historians Mary Craig and Graeme McIver, as well as local councillor Sandy Aitchison to champion Coltart’s story.

Angela told us: “I am delighted we now have an agreed design we are able to let the Borders public see.

“The agreed design of the Robert Coltart sculpture is based on newspaper cuttings, including an image we have of him.

"While we can never be 100 percent certain of his appearance, the research by Mary and Graeme and feedback to our appeal means I feel I can now portray his stature and personality.

“I will now press ahead with producing a lasting legacy for Robert Coltart that Galashiels can be proud of.”

Robert Coltart was born in Dumfries and Galloway and moved to Galashiels at a young age, like many at the time, to work in the mills.

It was during the 1870s that it is thought the weaver began making aniseed-flavoured toffee at his Overhaugh Street home.

As well as doing a fine trade at fairs, he would sell his candy around the streets of his adopted hometown by playing a whistle and singing his jingle - Ally Bally Bee - with a trail of children in his wake.

Coltart also lived at houses in Henderson Close and Park Street, which have both since been demolished.

And he was known to travel to nearby Melrose and Selkirk, as well as other Borders towns, to sell his candy on the streets.

An appeal in January for further information on Robert Coltart saw Angela receive messages from across Scotland and even Canada, which helped with the final design.

Historian Mary added: “Robert Coltart’s story is one that many more people should know about and I hope this sculpture will encourage people to find out how the famous song Coulter’s Candy came to be written by a weaver from Galashiels.”

The finished tribute in the Market Square will become part of a new town trail, supported by the Scottish Government.

Around £900,000 of improvements are planned as part of the regeneration of the town centre.

Helen Calder of Energise Galashiels Trust, who has also championed Coltart’s story, said: “We want Galashiels to be a more vibrant, welcoming and confident community.

"The tale of Robert Coltart embodies this vision, and we are delighted progress is now being made to finally celebrate his link to our town.”

The funding from the Scottish Government is also supporting new visitor signage and improvements to Channel Street and Douglas Bridge, as well as helping to fund the Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor attraction.

The town trail will include the location of Robert Coltart’s one bedroom flat in Overhaugh Street, which he shared with his family.

Councillor Mark Rowley, who is the spokesman for business, said: “In line with other regeneration works going on in Galashiels, the Coulter’s Candy project has been taken forward with a number of partners and it was important they all had sight of the initial design before it was issued publicly.

“A real effort is being made to ensure visitors are attracted to Galashiels, and the wider Borders area, and it is worth noting that without the Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor attraction - which helped secure the overall support from the Scottish Government Regeneration Grant Fund - these improvement works would not have been possible.”