Media release: Her Royal Highness, Princess Beatrice of York, officially launches Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail


HER Royal Highness, Princess Beatrice of York, patron of Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity, has officially launched Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail, considered to be the first of its kind, which sees five of Scotland’s major cities unite for 11 weeks, with 200 life-sized Oor Wullie sculptures taking to the streets in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness – supporting children’s hospital charities and celebrating Scotland’s favourite and forever young son, Oor Wullie.

Scotland’s children’s hospital charities (Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity, The ARCHIE Foundation and Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity) have joined forces with international arts events company, Wild in Art, and DC Thomson Media, custodians of Oor Wullie, to create the trail.

The project aims to significantly boost Scotland’s provision for children and young people in hospital by raising essential funds through the trail and associated events and sculpture auctions. This is the first time that all of Scotland’s children’s hospital charities have united for the same worthy cause. Her Royal Highness will meet children from across Scotland who have benefitted from the work of the charities.

The trail across Scotland comprises of 200 life-sized, bespoke-designed Oor Wullie sculptures across 700 miles.

From June to September, the trail is expected to attract over one million members of the public who will be encouraged to explore the country with free maps and a downloadable app, in order to ‘spot’ all sculptures in the trail. A further 350 ‘wee’ sculptures decorated by local schools, youth and community groups will accompany the main trail, forming mini trails in local libraries, art galleries, shopping centres and public spaces where families can take part in fun activities.

In September, when the trail has ended, all sculptures will be brought together in their respective cities and exhibited as part of a Farewell Weekend. The culmination of the campaign will be a series of regional auctions to raise significant funds for each of the charities involved.

The trail aims to raise awareness for Scotland’s children’s hospital charities, which work in partnership with the NHS to provide care for a combined half a million babies, children and young people each year. Money raised by the charity goes towards hospital equipment, family support services, research, staff, training and play and recreation spaces.

Each life-sized Oor Wullie sculpture is unique, reflecting many aspects of Scotland’s cultural identity, and has been individually designed by 200 commissioned artists. For the past eight months, the three charities have been working with local businesses and organisations to sponsor the Oor Wullie sculptures, which are now placed at iconic and interesting locations throughout the five trail cities.

By joining artists, businesses, communities, and schools together through Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail, the project aims to bring lots of activities for the public and visitors to enjoy throughout the summer. There will also be an opportunity for schools and communities to play a significant part in the trail.

A schools programme will run alongside the event with every school in Scotland being invited to take part in the trail and receive a wee Oor Wullie sculpture of their own. Fun runs, apps, and a number of associated events will encourage local communities to get involved.

Project milestones:

* October 2018 – The Rt. Hon. Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland launched the trail. All sectors invited to sponsor a sculpture;

* Winter 2018 – Artists from across the country individually design each sculpture;

* Spring 2019 – Schools in Scotland invited to take part in trail and receive a wee Oor Wullie sculpture to decorate;

* June – August 2019 – All decorated sculptures installed across the country for everyone to discover and enjoy throughout summer 2019!; and

* September 2019 – Spectacular Farewell Weekend and auctions of sculptures!

Key highlights:

* The trail is an historic event – it’s considered the first time in the world that an entire country has held a public art trail, having previously been held only in single cities at a time

* Oor Wullie is an icon, who emotes nostalgia and affection;

* All 200 sculptures are sponsored by some of Scotland’s most respected and well-known companies – the national sponsor for this event is Arnold Clark, and other partners include: Citlylink, Avian, Scottish Power, Malcolm Group, Scotrail, Leith Agency, VisitScotland, Active Scotland, Police Scotland, and Deposit and Return Scheme;

* The trail has an education programme – which will include tens of thousands of Scottish schoolchildren in the event;

* The trail is free to participate in – a downloadable free app as well as paper versions of the map, will allow families to take part in finding the sculptures, without having to pay.  Few events are so accessible for families;

* The trail encourages the public to engage with art and promotes positive messages relating to health and wellbeing– working with our partner, Active Scotland, have developed a pedometer for the app and activities to enjoy the Trail while walking, running or doing start jumps!; and

* The trail will end with the auction of all 200 sculptures – potentially raising transformational sums of money for every baby, child and young person in hospital in Scotland.

More information can be found at


Notes for editors:

For further information please contact Rebecca Moncrieff on 07802 690213 or

Roslyn Neely, CEO of Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity, explains the reasons why the charities have joined forces for the first time:

“We are thrilled that our Royal Patron is in Edinburgh to officially launch the Trail. The Trail gives us a unique opportunity to join with our counterpart charities in Glasgow and the North of Scotland to transform the lives of babies, children and young people in hospital and healthcare, so they can be a child first and a patient second. Edinburgh is famed for its historic landmarks like Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish Parliament and soon the new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People.  We’re excited to be adding over 50 bespoke designed Oor Wullies to the world famous city skyline this summer. The Trail will unite businesses, artists, schools, families and Scotland’s favourite son, Oor Wullie, and we hope to attract tens of thousands of participants to come and take part.”

David Wood, CEO of The ARCHIE Foundation, further describes the reasons why their charity is involved:

“Working with NHS Grampian, Highland and Tayside, The ARCHIE Foundation will ensure all funds raised from this fantastic event helps local sick children and their families. We compliment the NHS’ incredible care for young patients by providing additional family support, specialist staff, equipment and training, and creating child-friendly spaces. ARCHIE saw the tremendous benefits of Oor Wullie and his bucket following the first trail in 2016 in Dundee.

“This time around, Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail is set to be bigger and better, covering the three cities ARCHIE serves, as well as Edinburgh and Glasgow. Oor Wullie is a real mischievous character and I’m looking forward to seeing how each artist has interpreted him in their own way. There is real excitement across the cities for the trail to start and we can’t wait to see families out searching for the sculptures again and enjoying themselves. I hope the public will once again show support for Oor Wullie and ARCHIE to help raise vital funds for children in the North and East of Scotland.”

Shona Cardle, CEO of Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity, explains:

“Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity is delighted to be part of Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail. Oor Wullie is bound to knock the Duke of Wellington off the top spot as the city’s most famous sculpture this summer, with more than 50 Oor Wullies taking pride of place in Glasgow and the West. The trail has already captured the hearts and imaginations of thousands of schoolchildren across Scotland, and we can’t wait to see many more visit Oor Wullie at iconic locations across the country this summer. We hope that everyone will get behind the trail and help to raise vital funds for the babies, children and young people treated at Scotland’s busiest children’s hospital.”

Charlie Langhorne, director of Wild in Art, commented:

“Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail is enormously exciting for all the team at Wild in Art. Building on the strength of our previous events in Scotland, this is our first truly national trail; and something we are all immensely proud of. Wild in Art believes passionately in bringing communities, businesses, schools and artists together, and through the power of creativity enabling significant funds to be raised for our charity partners as well as having major social and economic impacts. While acknowledging this, we also believe that Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail will make the entire population of Scotland smile, and on the back of a smile, amazing things can happen.”

Ellis Watson, executive chair of DC Thomson Media, commented:

“We’re so delighted to be working with Scotland’s children’s hospital charities and Wild In Art, for this first ever nationwide art trail. Our naughty wee scamp, Oor Wullie, is going to have a busy summer getting out and about, helping to raise vital funds for our charity partners, and importantly, every child receiving hospital care in Scotland.

“Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail is an amazing opportunity to bring Scotland together, to have fun, get active and enjoy some incredible art. And when people in Scotland come together we all know how powerful that can be.”

Eddie Hawthorne, chief executive and group managing director, Arnold Clark, commented:

“We’re delighted to support Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail in 2019 and help raise vital funds to transform the lives of children and young people in hospital around the country. As the first nationwide public art trail, it’s a great way to explore the incredible attractions in Scotland’s major cities while you have fun spotting all the original artistic interpretations of our national treasure, Oor Wullie.”

Scotland’s children’s hospital charities, Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity, Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity and The ARCHIE Foundation, have one united vision:

To provide exceptional care for children and families. We believe nothing should get in the way of being a child. Funds raised from Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail will create a lasting legacy for future generations going towards:

* The very latest hospital equipment;

* Family support services;

* Research;

* Play programmes;

* Specialist staff and training;

Child-friendly hospital, play and recreation spaces;

* Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail supports Scottish Government’s Healthier Future agenda to encourage the public to be more active;

* Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail builds on the success of the Dundee 2016 Oor Wullie’s Bucket Trail which raised £900,000 for The ARCHIE Foundation; and

* Her Royal Highness, Princess Beatrice of York is the Patron of Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity.

Background information:

About Oor Wullie:

Oor Wullie’s comic strip adventures first appeared in The Sunday Post newspaper on March 8th, 1936. His popularity was instant and he’s been ever present since…

Oor Wullie is the iconic wee Scottish laddie from the fictional town of Auchenshoogle. The image of Wullie sitting on his upturned bucket, wearing his famous black dungarees is as familiar to Scots as Edinburgh Castle.

Wullie wages a constant war against boredom, he is a great righter of wrongs and will bravely tackle bullies to protect his lifelong pals Fat Bob, Soapy Soutar and Wee Eck.

Wullie loves life, fun and laughter and even the figures of authority in his world; Ma, Pa and long-suffering PC Murdoch have to smile at his energetic pranks.

He speaks an unique brand of Scots language which includes his famous sayings ‘Jings!’, ‘Crivvens!’ and ‘Help Ma Boab!’

With a sense of benign mischievousness and an inability to lie, Oor Wullie has a big heart, is full of tricks and is an inspirational leader of his ‘Gang’ of mates.

Oor Wullie is so loved by the Scottish nation that, in a survey conducted in 2004, the young scamp was voted ‘Scotland’s Favourite Son’.

Oor Wullie is a national treasure who Scotland identifies with and our familiar ‘forever young’ boy is the ideal character to bring the whole of nation together to help Scotland’s children in hospital.

About Scotland’s three hospital charities:

Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity

Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity believe that nothing should get in the way of being a child and exist to transform the experiences of children and young people in hospital, so they can be a child first and a patient second. The charity supports and complements the work of Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children (affectionately known as ‘The Sick Kids’) to aid treatment and recovery. It is their privilege to support over 110,000 babies, children and young people who come to the hospital both locally and from across Scotland to access their specialist services.

They also support the tens of thousands who attend other children’s services such as St John’s Hospital in Livingston; community health centres across the Lothians, Borders and Fife; and children and young people’s mental health services. Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity provides around £1million of funding each year through its grants programme; provides volunteering and play within the hospital; runs an innovative arts programme in hospital and community healthcare settings; and runs a youth work, child and family support service at the hospital, called ‘The Hub’ – recognised as the first of its kind in the UK. Because of Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity, children and young people’s lives are less interrupted by illness, they are less scared of hospital and their families are better supported and comforted.

For more information, please visit:

The ARCHIE Foundation

The ARCHIE Foundation is a charity that makes the difference for sick children throughout the north-east of Scotland when they are in hospital or need long-term medical treatment. ARCHIE is the official charity of Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, the Highland Children’s Unit in Inverness and Tayside Children’s Hospital in Dundee. As well as funding capital build projects, they support the NHS by providing enhanced staff training, advanced medical equipment, emergency support for families and specialist staff.

For more information, please visit:

Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity

Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity raises money to ensure that the 168,000 babies, children and young people treated each year at Scotland’s largest children’s hospital receive the best possible care and experience. We sit firmly at the heart of the hospital and our impact touches the lives of thousands of families each year.

From the latest medical equipment and research, to family support services and innovative play programmes, the projects we fund aim to enhance the care of our brave young patients and their families. Thanks to our caring community of supporters, fundraisers and volunteers, this year we have raised over £4.6 million to ensure that the care our young patients receive is second-to-none.

For more information, please visit:

About Wild in Art

Wild in Art is a leading producer of spectacular, mass-appeal public art events that connect businesses, artists and communities through the power of creativity and innovation.

Since 2008, Wild in Art has animated cities across the world including Manchester, Sydney, Melbourne, Cape Town and São Paulo, and created trails for the London 2012 Olympics, the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Historic Royal Palaces and Penguin Random House.

Wild in Art events have:

* Enabled over £12m to be raised for charitable causes;

* Injected £1.8m into local creative communities;

* Engaged over 550,000 young people in learning programmes; and

* Helped millions of people of all ages to experience art in non-traditional settings.

For more information, please visit:

About DC Thomson Media

DC Thomson Media is one of the leading media creators in the UK. The company’s headquarters is in Dundee, Scotland, with a London base in Fleet Street. DC Thomson Media publishes newspapers, magazines and comics, and has an extensive e-commerce and events portfolio alongside interests in gaming and radio.

For more information, please visit:

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