Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Tom Gilzean: Bid to buy war veteran's Oor Wullie statue for Edinburgh

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

The family of a 99-year-old war veteran who has raised more than £1m for charity has launched a fundraising bid to buy his Oor Wullie statue.

They want to see the figure of Tom Gilzean take up permanent residence in Edinburgh's city centre.

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

Now Mr Gilzean's family are attempting to raise £10,000 to buy it at a charity auction of the sculptures next week.

They hope they can ensure it remains in the city centre as a lasting memorial to the prolific fundraiser.

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.

Image caption Tom Gilzean was awarded the Edinburgh Medal in 2014

Gina Clarke, Mr Gilzean's daughter-in-law told BBC Scotland he was still recovering from a fall which saw him break fingers on both hands and sustain a head injury.

She said the statue was a "Scottish tribute" to Mr Gilzean and the family would love to keep in Edinburgh.

"He's an Edinburgh institution and we would like this sculpture to remain in the city centre on Princes Street or the Royal Mile where he collects for charity," she added.

"Tourists from all over the world know him and come to see him when they visit Edinburgh so we thought it would need to be put in a prominent place in Edinburgh city centre where people can see it."

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

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 supports the move to keep his sculpture in the capital.

A spokeswoman for the charity, which owns all 60 of the city's Oor Wullie statues, described Mr Gilzean as an "Edinburgh legend".

"He has been fundraising for us for more than 20 years," she said.

"How do you thank someone who has collected all this money by sitting out in all weathers with his tins?

"It would be a lovely commemorative gesture for him and for all the work he has done if his statue could be retained in Edinburgh."

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