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University appeals for help finding St Andrew's missing hand

The statue is a copy of Duquesnoy's sculpture which stood in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome Credit: University of St Andrews/PA

Scotland’s oldest university could do with a hand finding a missing part of a much-loved statue of St Andrew.

The university that took the saint's name launched its appeal to find the missing hand of Scotland's patron saint on St Andrew's Day as it announced plans to restore the statue for display.

The statue was made by Mussleburgh-born sculptor Alexander Handyside Ritchie and is a copy of the sculpture by Francois Duquesnoy that stood in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

It was gifted to the University of St Andrews in the 1960 having previously stood in the foyer of the North British & Mercantile Insurance Company building in Edinburgh, where staff would touch the saint's hand for luck.

Some touched the statue’s hand for good luck Credit: University of St Andrews/PA

For almost four decades the statue has stood in the Botanic Garden car park in St Andrews and at some point lost its left hand.

The university now plans to clean, restore and move the statue to a central location and has appealed to generations of students past and present - which includes the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - for information on the missing hand.

Dr Katie Stevenson, who is leading the restoration project, said: “The hand of St Andrew is an important part of the statue’s history.

“We are pleased to be able to retrieve Andrew for conservation and repair and we hope that his new home in the gardens of the university museum on The Scores in St Andrews will allow people to enjoy him. It would be wonderful if we could locate his original hand for our repair work.”

The statue will be moved from its current location for restoration work before the end of this year.

In the longer term, the university plans to install it on the lawns of Madras College.