Oor Wullie finds a good home in Bonnybridge

Residents and staff at Wheatlands Care Home with their Oor Wullie sculpture. Picture: Michael Gillen

Residents and staff at Wheatlands Care Home with their Oor Wullie sculpture. Picture: Michael Gillen

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Iconic Scottish cartoon character Oor Wullie is resting on his famous bucket at a Bonnybridge care home where fans are chapping at the door to catch a glimpse of him.

The Oor Wullie Noo statue was part of the Bucket Trail in Dundee which featured 70 individually designed sculptures of the cheeky wee scamp.

It was bought at auction by Tony Banks, the chairman of Balhousie Care Group which owns the Wheatfields Care Home in Bonnybridge and is there as part of his tour of the company’s 25 homes across the country.

The sculpture is fitting in well with his new house mates as it depicts what he would look like as an 80-year-old and he has been renamed Auld Wullie by the group as he is the oldest in the Trail.

Balhousie paid £18,000 for him at an auction held at the Dundee Rep Theatre and raised £883,000 for all 70 sculptures for the Archie Foundation’s Tayside Children’s hospital Appeal in September.

Other sculptures depicted Oor Wullie as the likes of David Bowie, Dennis the Menace, golf, football and rugby players, Robert Burns, High School Wullie, Iron Man and an Tim Peake-inspired astronaut.

Senior nurse Marjory Acheson said it was a ‘jings, crivvens help ma boab’ moment when Auld Wullie made his first appearance.

She said: “It’s quite appropriate Auld Wullie is here and he is in great company, all the residents are loving having him and have been getting their selfies taken with him.

“When he first came in everyone was really amazed, it’s a fantastic sculpture and is very impressive in real life.

“We’ve had quite a few people chapping the door wanting to come in and see him from workmen to schoolchildren. It’s been great, he’s certainly caused a bit of a buzz in the community.”

Auld Wullie has a special connection with the Balhousie Group as residents from the Balhousie St Ronan’s Care Home modelled for the artist who created him, Alison Price.

Balhousie director of operations Louise Barnett said: “It has been wonderful to be involved in such an incredibly popular public art project.

“As an 80-year-old, we are sure he will get on famously with our residents and will enjoy visiting them across all 25 of our care homes. I’d like to thank Tony for very generously bidding to ensure Auld Wullie came home to us.”

Chairman Tony Banks said: “I am delighted to be able to support The Archie Foundation’s Tayside Children’s Appeal by bidding on Auld Wullie and helping to make him a permanent fixture across our care homes.

“An incredible amount of money was raised at the auction, which was all for a very worthy cause. I’m sure many people across Balhousie Care Group will enjoy meeting the Auld Wullie on his tour of our 25 homes.”