THOSE who vandalised the headstone of the master of Greyfriars Bobby have not been allowed to spoil tomorrow’s ceremony to commemorate the 146th anniversary of the death of Scotland’s most famous dog.

For in a defiant gesture, well-known funeral directors William Purves have stepped in to repair the headstone of Auld Jock Gray that was toppled and damaged last weekend.

Tomorrow’s service commemorating the wee dog’s 14 years of faithfully staying by Auld Jock’s grave will go ahead as planned at Greyfriars Kirkyard and at Bobby’s statue near the entrance in which headstones have been regularly vandalised in recent years.

Lord Provost Frank Ross, whose predecessor Sir William Chambers saved Bobby’s life by buying the Skye Terrier a licence, will lead the events that mark the 146th anniversary of Bobby’s death on 14 January, 1872.

The gravestone of police nightwatchman John Gray, who died in 1858, in Greyfriars Kirkyard was knocked over last Saturday or Sunday night, and the City of Edinburgh Council said they were unable to carry out repairs in time for tomorrow’s service Tim Purves, chairman and fifth generation of the Scottish family firm, heard about the stone and contacted the Council to arrange a memorial repair in time for the anniversary event.

He said: “It’s such a well known landmark that it would be nice for it to be fixed. At midday, we went to the cemetery to fix the stone, which is now up and ready for the ceremony on Sunday.”

Steve Lister, Greyfriars Kirk operations manager had shared his disappointment over the possibility the stone would remain broken for the ceremony and at the vandalism generally. He and other dignitaries will be joined by Tim and George Robinson of The One o’clock Gun Association, who are organising the event.

Lister said: “This is an extremely kind gesture and I want to thank Tim for his initiative.”

A City of Edinburgh Council spokeswoman praised the move. She said: “It’s great news that the headstone will be re-erected in time for this weekend’s commemoration event.”