A CROWDFUNDING appeal has been launched to honour the memory of one of Scotland’s most outstanding poets, George Campbell Hay – Deòrsa Mac Iain Dheòrsa – one of the few to write in all three of Scotland’s languages.

The campaign for a commemorative flagstone in Makar’s Court, at the Writers’ Museum, Edinburgh, was started by Anne Artymiuk, a PhD student at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Hay, a lifelong nationalist, was the subject of her doctoral thesis and she says the stone will cost upwards of £3,000, as she wants the engraving done in two languages.

Artymiuk told The National: “One day I checked to see if he was in Makar’s Court and he wasn’t, so I thought to myself he should be.

“He is one of Scotland’s greatest 20th-century poets, almost uniquely he’s one of the very few poets of Scotland who wrote in all three of Scotland’s languages – Gaelic, Scots and English – and because everybody else who is anybody in the 20th century is there and he’s not.

The Saltire Society oversees Makar’s Court and Artymiuk had to seek their permission for the proposed flagstone. She said she had no difficulty persuading others to come on board: “I applied to the Saltire Society and I chose a quotation with Michel Byrne, who does Celtic and Gaelic at Glasgow University, and who edited Hay’s collected poems and songs some years ago and we put up for approval a quotation in Scots.

“The Saltire Society came back and asked if we’d like to put up a quotation in Gaelic as well because he was also known as a Gaelic poet.

“As far as I know George Campbell Hay will be the only poet in Makar’s Court to have quotations in two different languages.”

Makar’s Court is a continuing project that celebrates the lives and works of Scottish writers. It was launched in 1997 with the first stone dedicated to the 14th-century poet John Barbour.

Robert Henryson, Sorley MacLean and Dame Muriel Spark are all among the writers who have been honoured with a quotation set in stone and set in the paving between the Mound and the Grassmarket to the door of the Writers’ Museum.

Normally, associations or groups devoted to the writer concerned raise cash for their own stone.

The court stonemason is currently working on a design for the Hay stone, which Artymiuk had intended to pay out of her own pocket.

“Originally my idea was to get agreement from the Saltire Society, I’ll choose a quote, write a cheque and we’d get it all laid nice and quietly with no fuss, no bother, no trumpets or fanfares,” she added. “But that’s not how things work. It’s going to be something like £3,250 because they charge by the letter for quotations, so if you have a second quotation it has a catastrophic effect on the cost.”

It is hoped that the stone will be unveiled in the autumn and the fundraiser will run until the end of September on the gofundme.com website: www.gofundme.com/2ht4984