Grand welcome for Oor Wullie to Broughty Ferry RNLI
RNLI members, the local community and the local media gathered in force to welcome Oor Wullie to his new spiritual home in Broughty Ferry.
Wullie arrived at Broughty Ferry on Friday 30 September having been transported there on The Ferry’s all-weather lifeboat Elizabeth of Glamis.
For those of you who have never heard of him, ‘Oor Wullie’ or ‘Our Willie’ if you’re from south of the border is a Scottish lad, an iconic comic strip character known to generations north of the border for his cheeky, mischievous antics and of course his bucket upon which he would sit and put the world to rights. The comic strip has been running since 1936.
Although purely fictional, the locals have always taken to him as their own as he was created by the publisher D.C. Thomson who are based in Dundee. Through the summer of this year 55 five foot tall statues of Oor Wullies each with a different theme were placed in spots throughout Dundee. More Oor Wullies were then transported around Scotland. Each would tell a different story.
The interest created was phenomenal with tens of thousands going to view them. Towards the end of summer each of them would be auctioned off with all the money raised going to The Archie Foundation’s Tayside Hospital Appeal, the official charity of Tayside Children’s Hospital in Dundee.
One in particular stood out to the people in Broughty Ferry, Dundee. It was an Oor Wullie in full RNLI attire. There was a bond with the locals immediately. It sat on a pier next to the lifeboat shed where it was under constant photographic bombardment.
Rumour circulated that the people of Arbroath were lining up a bid for this one as they believed it to hold significance with their seafaring history. Things weren’t looking good for him, it looked like he was to be heading out of the city. This was unimaginable.
Step forward Ewan Philp and Peter Hay, both RNLI crew members, who started a crowdfunding page to raise funds to allow Wullie to stay put. This raised an amazing £16,000 from near, far and wide.
Armed with the cash they went into battle to secure ownership of ‘Oor Wullie, Oor Lifesaver’ and won with a bid of £10,000. The remaining £6,000 was then split equally with RNLI and Archie Foundation each getting £3000. Without the support of the community and all of those who donated to the fund this would not have been possible.
The Archie Foundation was better off to the tune of £833,000 following the auctioning of the Oor Wullies. Winners all round !
Wullie will stay in the RNLI boat shed through the winter months as well as doing some visits here and there. He will be on display in the summer months on Broughty’s Ferry Pilot pier where he will continue to draw the crowds and be of benefit to the local community.
So if you’re ever visiting Broughty Ferry then pop down to the pier and get your photo taken with him to make your trip complete. Like the thousands of others, you’ll be glad you did.
RNLI media contacts: Colin Davidson, RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer for Broughty Ferry on 07963 482348, Colin_Davidson@rnli.org.uk
Or Richard Smith, RNLI Public Relations Manager for Scotland on 01738 642956, 07786 668903 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Or Henry Weaver, RNLI Press Officer for Scotland, 01738 642946, 07771 943026, email@example.com
Or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.