Family of inspirational Edinburgh fundraiser Tom Gilzean fail in bid to buy Oor Wullie statue

THE family of legendary fundraiser Tom Gilzean have failed in their bid to buy the "Oor Wullie" statue designed in his honour.

Friday, 20th September 2019, 1:37 pm
The Oor Wullie statue of Tom Gilzean went for 13,000 at auction

The 99-year-old ex-soldier, who has raised more than £1 million rattling his collecting can on Princes Street, is still recovering from a nasty fall at a tram stop.

But his son Douglas Gilzean, 68, started a crowdfunding page, aiming to raise £10,000 to keep the statue - part of the nationwide "Oor Wullie's bucket trail" on the streets of Edinburgh.

However, the family were outbid when all the Edinburgh "Oor Wullie" statues were auctioned off last night and the Tom Gilzean sculpture went for £13,000.

The Oor Wullie statue of Tom Gilzean went for 13,000 at auction

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The auction raised a total of £318,000 for the Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity (ECHC), Tom's favourite charity.

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Douglas Gilzean said: “It would have been a wonderful gesture if we were able to purchase my dad’s Oor Wullie sculpture as a tribute to him but we always knew that this may not be possible.

“What is most important to Dad is that his sculpture has raised such a huge sum for Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity to support children and young people in the Sick Kids

"It is his life’s passion to fundraise for the hospital so he is absolutely over the moon with the amount that his sculpture achieved at auction and through our crowdfunding efforts, and that this will now be donated to this wonderful cause.

“We would like to say a huge, heartfelt thank you to each and every person who contributed to our crowdfunding page, including Central Taxis for kindly sponsoring the sculpture and for their generous donation. The support we received was just incredible and we know it means everything to Dad. We cannot thank people enough.”

But since they did not manage to buy the statue, ECHC and art group Wild in Art plan to create a mini "Oor Wullie" sculpture of Tom which will be gifted to him and his family.

Roslyn Neely, chief executive of Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Tom is an incredible man and has been such a fantastic supporter of ours for many years.

“As he holds such a special place in all of our hearts, our wonderful friends at Wild In Art are going to commission a mini Tom Oor Wullie sculpture to gift to him and his family. Wherever Tom decides to put this little sculpture, we know it will be loved and admired for many, many years to come.”