Wendys out in force in Dumfries to celebrate birthday of Peter Pan creator

Wendys at Moat Brae: left to right Wendy Dolan, Daisy Wendy White, Wendy Dalston and Wendy Wakelin
Wendys at Moat Brae: left to right Wendy Dolan, Daisy Wendy White, Wendy Dalston and Wendy Wakelin -Credit:Les Snowdon

It was a Darling of an idea to celebrate the birthday of one of Dumfries’ most famous residents of yesteryear, author JM Barrie, on Thursday.

Anyone named Wendy was invited to explore the historic birthplace of Peter Pan on George Street, free of charge, as a tribute to one of the iconic book’s best-loved characters, Wendy Darling.

And the opportunity was snapped up by Wendys of all ages.

It also added to the charm of the occasion that Moat Brae – Scotland’s centre for children’s literature and storytelling – has its own staff Wendy in Wendy Davis who was there to help show visitors around.

JM Barrie attended Dumfries Academy and grew up in Dumfries, from 1873 to 1878, where he met Hal and Stuart Gordon who lived at Moat Brae.

The three soon became firm friends with Barrie visiting Moat Brae often, and the garden was the scene for many a pirate adventure.

On returning to Dumfries to receive the Freedom of the Burgh, Barrie confirmed that the house and garden were the birthplace of his classic story which is still loved the world round.

He said: “For our escapades in a certain Dumfries garden, which is enchanted land to me, were certainly the genesis of that nefarious work.”

Today it is the Neverland Garden and the visiting Wendys enjoyed seeing its Peter Pan statue, among other features. Cameron Hinde, the visitor attraction manager at Moat Brae, said: “We were thrilled to commemorate JM Barrie’s birthday in a manner that honoured one of his most cherished characters, Wendy Darling. Moat Brae holds a special place in literary history, and we were excited to welcome Wendys to experience the magic of this place that inspired Peter Pan’s adventures.”

•Moat Brae is now offering guided house tours every Saturday at 12noon through all three floors. Tickets at www.ticketsource.co.uk/peter-pan-moatbrae-trust/t-avknajn.