Organisers of the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail are looking forward to tonight’s auction of the statues — where vital funds will be raised for the Tayside Children’s Appeal.
Dundee’s largest ever public art event drew to a close at the weekend after 10 weeks, with all eyes now on the crucial auction at the Rep theatre.
All 70 individually-designed Oor Wullie sculptures — those on the trail as well as the Tour Wullies — will be auctioned to the highest bidder.
And there has been so much interest from potential bidders that it is unlikely there will be space in the theatre for the general public.
Neil Cooney, project manager, said: “There’s been so much interest from potential bidders that every spot is looking like it will be taken up.
“We didn’t expect so much interest. It bodes well for the auction.
“I’m really looking forward to it, although it is tinged with sadness as it marks the end of it all.
“It’s an auction so it’s very difficult to predict what’s going to happen, but we have a very high level of interest and we feel we’ve done everything we can to make it an enjoyable show to raise a lot of money.”
The trail has been part of the project to create a brand new twin operating theatre for the Tayside Children’s Hospital at Ninewells.
Charity organisers, the Archie Foundation, along with partners Wild In Art and DC Thomson, encouraged potential bidders — from local businesses and sponsors to individuals who have fallen in love with the array of intricately designed and bespoke Oor Wullie sculptures — to register to bid.
But they didn’t expect so many to register their interest. Cassie Thompson, fundraising manager for the Archie Foundation, said that the organisers were using i-bidder, an online auction site.
“We’ve had more than 50 people register on i-bidder,” she said.
“And to do this you need to put your payment details including a £250 deposit, so we’re assuming only people who are serious about bidding have registered.”
Neil added that i-bidder is also streaming the event live.
Proceedings will be launched by DC Thomson CEO Ellis Watson, followed by an insight into the work of the Archie Foundation and the plans for how the money raised will be used to help sick children through the Tayside Children’s Hospital Appeal.
Many local groups ran crowdfunding initiatives to be able to bid for an Oor Wullie sculpture, including a group from NHS Tayside, an Arbroath community campaign and a push in Broughty Ferry to keep the RNLI-themed sculpture there.
The Ninewells Hospital campaign alone has raised more than £6,000.
Check back later as the Tele will be at the event to provide live updates from the auction.
The running order for the evening can be found here.