Oor Wullie statue: War veteran’s family outbid at auction

Tom Gilzean with his Oor Wullie sculpture Image copyright Tabby Blades/Edinburgh Children’s Hospital
Image caption Tom Gilzean’s family wanted his Oor Wullie statue to remain in Edinburgh city centre

The Edinburgh family of a 99-year-old war veteran who has raised more than £1m for charity have been outbid for his Oor Wullie statue.

Tom Gilzean’s sculpture went for £13,000 at auction on Thursday night to a mystery buyer.

It follows a crowd fundraiser which raised £7,000 to buy the statue so it could be kept on display in Edinburgh.

It was part of the Scotland-wide Oor Wullie’s Bucket Trail over the summer – and one of 60 in the capital alone.

The Edinburgh auction of all 60 statues, which included The Proclaimers, raised £318,000 for Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity.

The artist who made the statues has now pledged to make and gift a small Oor Wullie sculpture to Mr Gilzean in recognition of the prolific fundraiser’s efforts.

Image caption Tom Gilzean was awarded the Edinburgh Medal in 2014

He is well known in Edinburgh, where he is regularly seen with his collecting tin and trademark tartan trousers on Princes Street and the Royal Mile.

Douglas Gilzean, son of Mr 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 amount 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.”

Image copyright Vicki Watson
Image caption Tom’s Oor Wullie sculpture was on Princes Street during the summer

Roslyn Neely, CEO 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.”

Mr Gilzean has the Edinburgh Award, which recognises people who have made an outstanding contribution to the city.

He raises money for Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity – which had supported the move to keep his sculpture in the capital.



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