Children across Dundee and Tayside have chance to design their own Oor Wullie sculpture

Children and communities across Tayside are being given the chance to design their own mini Oor Wullie sculptures.

Schools and community groups gathered at DC Thomson’s headquarters to mark the launch of this summer’s Big Bucket Trail.

Brightly decorated figurines of the iconic comic character will hit the streets of five Scottish cities from July until September.

Teachers collect their statues with artist Annie Laughrin and fundraising manager Sarah Johnston

As part of the nationwide public art project, youngsters are invited to put their own spin on the wee scamp.

At the launch, The Archie Foundation charity gave a presentation to teachers and community group leaders about how their involvement with the trail will benefit sick children in Dundee.

Annie Laughrin, creative, learning and special project manager at Wild in Art, said: “There are absolutely no limits to the designs and that’s the really exciting thing about this project.

“The brilliant thing about creativity is that young people can let their imaginations soar.

“They won’t necessarily see this sculpture as a cheeky wee scamp – they might turn it into a backdrop for other things.”

Adam Biesok from Timmergreens Primary School in Arbroath poses with two Wullie statues

Once the statues are designed and painted, they will become part of a smaller trail which will run at the same time.

Vikki Taylor, a teacher at St Mary’s Primary in Lochee, said: “We did the Maggie’s penguin parade with our kids.

“Our school is in the heart of Lochee so they children have been looking at Lochee in the past, present and what it might look like in the future so they might incorporate that into their design ideas.

“I like how the kids can take control of the project and it allows them to be creative because there’s so much pressure on literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing.”

Craigiebarns Primary teacher Adele McGrath said: “I think it’s just about bringing the whole school together with kids who maybe wouldn’t be so forthcoming before at giving their creative ideas.”

Sarah Johnston, Tayside fundraising manager for The Archie Foundation, added: “The mini Oor Wullie sculptures give schools and community groups a great opportunity to engage children in a range of cross-curricular activities as well as encouraging communities to come together and support the Big Bucket Trail and the work of The Archie Foundation.

“The idea is to give young people the tools to be excited about the Bucket Trail.

“The mini sculptures will be placed in places such as local libraries and once the trail is finished, they will form part of the farewell event.

“It’s a chance to be part of something big.”

Artist Annie Laughrin advised teachers how to paint the statues

The mini trail is part of the farewell event which will be held just before the full-size statues are auctioned – and the mini Oor Wullies will be returned to their schools or groups to keep.

A total of 150 Oor Wullie sculptures will take to the streets of the City of Discovery, as well as Aberdeen, Inverness, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

In Dundee, 30 sculptures will be on display at various locations before being auctioned off to raise money for the Archie Foundation – the official charity of Tayside Children’s Hospital.

It follows on from the original trail held in Dundee in 2016, which raised more than £883,000.