Friday 13 September saw First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launch the farewell weekend of the Oor Wullie Big Bucket Trail in Glasgow, marking the end of the summer’s colourful art trail.
The event at the Scottish Exhibition Centre in Glasgow brought to a close the public art trail featuring hundreds of colourful statues of beloved Scottish comic strip character Oor Wullie across five Scottish cities.
The First Minister also met with one of the beneficiaries of the event, Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity (GCHC), as well as the sponsor of the weekend’s events, Zero Waste Scotland.
She then visited Crossbasket Nursery in Blantyre and Lyoncross Nursery in Crookston, pupils from which have been involved in the trail.
In a statement, the First Minister said: “It was a pleasure to help celebrate the finale of Scotland’s first ever national public art trail and I hope the farewell events help to raise even more money for children’s hospital charities across the country.”
This was the beginning of the trail’s ‘farewell weekend’, taking place in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee and Inverness, where the statues spent the summer lining the streets.
All profits from these celebrations were split between GCHC, Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity and the ARCHIE Foundation, a children’s charity committed to improving children’s healthcare in Scotland.
Shona Cardle, Chief Executive of GCHC, thanked the First Minister for marking the start of the Farewell Weekend Events, as well as Zero Waste Scotland for its sponsorships of the event.
In a statement she said; “We are delighted to see that, following the incredible success of the trail in Glasgow, our Farewell Weekend events at the [Scottish Exhibition and Conference (SEC) Centre] have already sold out.”
Having intrigued tourists and fans who have been able to follow the trail with the use of a special mobile app, the statues were auctioned off across Scotland with the profits going to the bucket trail’s three benefactors. According to the app, the most visited statue was in Aberdeen, based on Willie Miller, former captain of the Aberdeen Football Club. On Edinburgh’s Princes Street, visitors could find a statue decorated to resemble Tom Gilzean, 99, a well-known face in the city who has been collecting for Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity on the city centre high street since 2000.
Gilzean has been unable to walk due to a fall. However, a fundraiser was launched on his behalf by his son to raise £10,000 in order to buy the statue bearing his likeness at an auction in and keep it in Edinburgh. The family were outbid by a mystery buyer with £13,000 for the statue, but a local taxi firm has since stepped up to commission a new statue for the family.
More than £1.29 million has been raised from the auctioning of the statues, with an intricate metal statue fetching the most at £25,000.
Oor Wullie is a Scottish cultural icon originating from a comic strip in The Sunday Post originally drawn by Dudley D. Watkins, first released in 1936. Wullie is often portrayed sitting on his bucket laughing or pointing, the form which the figures for this art trail take.
Image: Catherine Buchan