Moving Oor Wullie

Child first, patient second. That’s the moto of the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity who have been doing some amazing things to transform the experiences of children and young people in hospital. So they can be a child first and a patient second. So how did we get involved moving Oor Wullies? Read more to find out!

The Big Bucket Trail

With over 200 full size Oor Wullie’s on display all over Scotland, the Big Bucket Trail was Scotland’s first ever nationwide public art trail. Every single Oor Wullie was identical in terms of shape and size. Every one of them with their own unique style. Designed by many different artists from all over the country!

On display for 11 weeks (17th June-30th August) across Scotland. The Oor Wullies were brought together in each of the 5 host cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness for a series of Farewell Events. This is where Purdie Worldwide stepped up to the bucket, moving Oor Wullies safely and securely.

Our main task as part of this huge project was to collect and deliver the 60 Edinburgh based Oor Wullies. From the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity HQ, just outside of Edinburgh, and deliver them to St Andrew’s Square for their final display.


After collecting the Wullies late on a Sunday night, we had to load them up again and take them to Prestonfield House. From here they would all be put to auction in order to raise funds for all the charities involved in Moving Oor Wullies.

Wrapping Oor Wullies

Our first port of call was to the head quarters of the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity at Wester Shawfair, Danderhall, just outside Edinburgh. The main part of our job was to move the 60 large Oor Wullie statues and 90 smaller ones from there to St. Andrew’s Square in Edinburgh. Where they would be on display from Friday the 13th till Sunday the 15th. We would then have to come in late on Sunday night and move every Oor Wullie. From St Andrew’s Square back to the ECHC HQ at Danderhall.

We left equipped with our 2 largest 18t trucks and a single 3.5t for any additional loads. Planning to load 28 Wullies into each 18t van, with the remainder going into the 3.5t van. Had this been a traditional wrap pack load we could’ve packed everything pretty tight. However given the cost of these statues, and the potential increase in value post auction, we had to take very good care of these. Ensuring no Wullie was touching any other Wullies.


As you can see from the pictures below we used 4 blankets when moving Oor Wullie. One blanket went on the floor to stop the floor scratching the statue, and it also allowed the statues to slide across the floor much easier. We put a 2nd sheet round each head, with another sheet covering his legs, with the final sheet covering his body.

Loading Oor Wullies

Fortunately for us, none of the statues retained their concrete bases. So although not as heavy as they look, the statues were still pretty awkward. So moving Oor Wullie definitely required two men to move. Once we had cleared a path and opened every door as wide as we could, we started to load all the statues into the vans.


One 18t truck had a tailift which allowed us to take up 4 Wullies at a time into the back of the van. The other 18t truck only had a ramp, so we had to load the Wullies one at a time which took slightly longer. As previously mentioned every statue had 4 blankets on each. So for the main 60 Oor Wullie statues we used a total of 240 blankets to protect them!

Unloading at Night


Moving Oor Wullie - Issues!

Unfortunately the only time we could deliver these historic pieces of artwork into St. Andrews Square was after 6pm, when they closed the central garden to the public. Having placed security on the main gates it certainly felt more like a secret mission for a consultate than a simple art delivery.

When we pulled up at St. Andrews Square and started to unload we were very surprised at the amount of attention we were attracting. Moving Oor Wullies could be dangerous! So much so, we had to place someone in the back of the van at all times. Acting as our own security to protect the statues from any wandering hands. Although the initial off load went very smoothly. Every big statue was carefully placed around the garden in St. Andrews Square, we had a major delay while one of the 18t trucks returned to the ECHC HQ to pick up the 90 small Oor Wullie statues. Not forgetting several crates of water and boxes of official Oor Wullie programs too!

Sadly due to several roads in Edinburgh being closed for the filming of the new Fast & Furious movie, it took 2 hours for our truck to travel 10 miles out of town. Then reload and get back into St. Andrews Square. So by the time we finished the off-load it was almost 10 o’clock! Thankfully our operations manager had planned ahead, and the drivers we were using on the day hadn’t been on a driving job during the day. Therefore they had plenty of official travel time left to complete the job. They were also rewarded with the morning off the next day! Who wouldn’t want to be moving Oor Wullies after a night like that!


To the Auction!

After collecting and moving Oor Wullies late on Sunday night, our last task was to transport all the big Oor Wullies from the ECHC headquarters to Prestonfield House. Ensuring they were there in time for the auction on Thursday night. Loading the statues went very smoothly, and we improved on our loading technique from our previous attempt. Utilising some Magliners with extra padding to make moving Oor Wullies quicker and easier.


When it came to unloading at Prestonfield, each of the statues had to be stickered with their relevant Lot No.’s. Then placed in 1 of 3 different locations (left of stage, right of stage, rear stage).


Once all of the statues had been unloaded and placed into 1 of the 3 locations it was time to set them up in lot order. This was actually the most time consuming part of the job. You had to move 3 or 4 statues just to get one into the right place. Thankfully the weather was on our side. Although it took us slightly longer than anticipated, everything was completed on time and ready for the auction starting that evening.

Our MD Neil Purdie was present at the auction that evening to make sure everything went smoothly. Also to offer our assistance to any buyers who wished to use our services to deliver their newly purchased statues. So this probably won’t be the last time you see an Oor Wullie post. We’ll hopefully be delivering them all round the country!

Big Steps for Little People

With lots of bidders present at the auction, both in person and online, every single Oor Wullie statue was sold. With the total raised by the Edinburgh Oor Wullies standing at a whopping £318,000!

If you combine that with the other host city auctions a total of £1.3 Million was raised! A fantastic result for all involved and we’re all very proud to have been involved with such a fantastic project.

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