Film director and writer Brendan Foley is to be among the guests of honour at unveiling the larger than life memorial to Wojtek the bear this weekend as he prepares to make a movie of the mascot's life and times with the Polish soldiers who saved him.

Belfast-born Foley, who is behind films including Johnny Was starring Vinnie Jones, said he was delighted to accept a personal invitation from the family of Jim Little to attend the curtain-raising at the ceremony in Princes Street Gardens on Saturday.

Foley is due to begin work on a movie about the bear which could screen as early as 2017.

As well as being a trusted mascot, orphaned Wojtek - brought to the Borders via Italy and Glasgow - was a source of inspiration to the soldiers.

The troops who rescued the bear were emaciated after escaping the Russian Gulags and Wojtek became a comfort and a close companion to them.

Mr Foley said: "I am honoured to be asked by Jim's family.

"His stories of the bear inspired this memorial, and working so closely with Wojtek's story, I feel he is someone I know and respect."

Aileen Orr, Mr Little's granddaughter and author of Wojtek the Bear Polish Hero, lives on the farm where the Polish soldiers and Wojtek were stationed.

She said: "We are thrilled Brendan is flying across specially for this very special ceremony.

"Brendan became involved in the project to have Wojtek's story made into a film, and he and his wife Shelly have become family friends."

She added "My grandfather was a regular soldier with the Kings Own Scottish Borderers who met the Poles along with their bear in the Middle East.

"He always instilled in me a respect and understanding for what the Polish soldiers sacrificed for us in Britain, but so upset was he at the treatment of those same soldiers post war, he never voted again."

Ms Orr said: "In a bizarre twist to the story, Wojtek and his comrades were shipped at the end of the war from Italy to Glasgow and ended up on what is now our farm in Berwickshire.

"So I feel I was destined to finish this very moving story, though I am very sorry so many did not see the memorial completed."

It has taken seven years of preparation for Alan Beattie Heriot's striking sculpture to come to fruition.

James B Little, of the King's Own Scottish Borderers is carved, on the granite steps, sourced from Poland, of the memorial.