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!
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 but every one of them had their own unique style and 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!
Our main tasks as part of this huge project was to collect and deliver the 60 Edinburgh based Oor Wullies from the Edinburgh Children’t 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, where they would all be put to auction in order to raise funds for all the chairties involved.
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 Edinbugh, 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.
Equipped with our 2 largest 18t trucks and a single 3.5t for any additonal loads, we planned 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, but given the cost of these statues, and the potential increase in value post auction, we had to take very good care of these and ensure no Wullie was touching any other Wullies.
As you can see from the pictures below we used 4 blankets for each 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.
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 and 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!
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 attraccting. So much so we had to place someone in the back of the van at all times to act as our own security to protect the statues from any wandering hands. Although the initial off load went very smoothly and 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 and several crates of water and boxes of official Oor Wullie programs.
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, 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, so they had plenty of official travel time left to complete the job. They were also rewarded with the morning off the next day!
After collecting the statues late on Sunday night, our last task was to transport all the big Oor Wullies from the ECHC headquarters to Prestonfield House, 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 after utilising some Magliners with extra padding to move the statues quicker and easier.
When it came to unloading at Prestonfield, each of the statues had to be stickered with their relevant Lot No.’s, and 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 as you had to move 3 or 4 statues just to get one into the right place. Thankfully the weather was on our side, and 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, and 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, as we’ll hopefully be delivering them all round the country!
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.
If you’d still like to help why not donate £3 to Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity? Just text ECHC3 to 70085!