Taking place across five cities – Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness – we teamed up with publisher DC Thomson, Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity, Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity and The Archie Foundation to create the largest mass participation public art event ever to take place in Scotland. In fact, Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail was Wild in Art’s first nationwide public art trail!
We celebrated and recognised those Oor Wullie Superfans who visited all five cities to see the sculptures with a number of rewards and prizes.
Congratulations for completing Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail! How did you get started?
Well, I’ve been collecting Oor Wullie annuals for years and have a special one from 1964 – I was born in 1965 but that was a Broons year!
Unfortunately I had an abscess removed in my back five years ago and had to give up my driving license and my job at St Georges School a few years ago. My wife then passed in 2016 and since then I’ve struggled with my mental health and suffered from depression.
I’ve got to mention Dougie at Big Hearts and SAMH who run a mental health group called Changing Rooms, a 12-week programme where men meet up, do activities together and start positive conversations about their mental health and wellbeing.
It’s because of them: my old employers and my family and friends who helped me get out of the house and introduced me to a photography course at the Grassmarket. They sent me to see the PC Murdoch sculpture – it got me started and then I got the kids involved.
That’s such a touching story. Who did you do the trail with?
All of my kids – Connie (26) Taylor (19) Jamie (28) and Robyn (21), plus Kevin (22), Robyn’s fiancé who did all of the driving! (Robyn and Kevin are pictured with Robin) Unfortunately the kids lost their mum in 2015 and this has been a magic opportunity to spend time together and visit all corners of the country. It was a right family thing.
Having seen them all – which Oor Wullie is your favourite?
You’ve got to say that there were so many amazing Oor Wullie designs in each of the cities, you can see the amount of work the artists have put in! PC Murdoch is one of my favourites of course with it being the first one I saw. For me though it was the Oor Classic outside Scottish Parliament that was my favourite because it was created by Peter Davidson who has been Oor Wullie’s illustrator for many years. I’m a massive fan of Oor Wullie and last year my daughter Robyn contacted Peter to ask him for an autograph for my birthday. He got back within 24hrs and sent a signed Oor Wullie drawing for me and it has been my pride and joy ever since.
How do you feel about winning the Golden Oor Wullie?
I had to pinch myself! We managed to buy a couple of the 2016 figurines through the app competition but I never thought I’d win this.
Honestly I am so proud, I’ve never really won anything and feel that this type of thing doesn’t happen to folks like me! It really means a lot – remember I didn’t believe you when you phoned to tell me – I thought you were pulling ma leg.
Which were the most awkward sculptures to get to?
Well Inverness is quite a long way away! Fortunately there was a Legends of Darts event on at the same time so we were able to do both and stay overnight. We went through to Glasgow a couple of days a week for five weeks in a row to get them all over there, as they were spread so far out. It took a long time but it was worth all the trekking aboot! I’m on crutches but I’ve done a lot of walking, not shifted much weight, but done a lot of walking!