The north-east will be lit up next year in aid of a leading cancer charity.
CLAN Cancer Support has teamed up with Wild in Art, which was behind the successful Wild Dolphins trail and Oor Wullie’s Big Bucket Trail.
They will create the “Light the North” lighthouse trail, taking people on a cultural tour of the north-east, between September and November 2020.
Dozens of lighthouses will be installed in north-east towns and villages to form an interactive trail.
The trail aims to provide a “light in the dark” for those with cancer and their families, while raising vital funds for CLAN.
And organisers hope to install between 30 and 70 of the 2.5-metre high sculptures in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray, Orkney and Shetland.
The initiative, which will help the charity raise the annual £2.5 million it needs for running costs, was officially launched at CLAN House.
Charity chief executive Dr Colette Backwell said: “We’re delighted to be partnered with Wild in Art to bring this event to life for individuals and families across the area to get involved.
“CLAN has been supporting people for 36 years and, as many of our clients have told us, we are a shining light in the dark for anyone affected by cancer.
“The lighthouse is a symbol that reflects what we do and is synonymous with the areas we support.
“With over 20,000 people living with cancer in the region and people living longer with cancer, CLAN’s support is more vital than ever.
“We provide the emotional and practical support needed to ensure people’s wellbeing needs are taken care of at all stages of their cancer journey.
“We are proud to bring the trail to communities that CLAN operates in and hope the lighthouse trail and our partnership with Wild in Art will allow us to help more people affected by cancer.”
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This year’s Oor Wullie’s Big Bucket Trail – held in Scotland’s five main cities – raised more than £1.3m for children’s hospital charities including the Archie Foundation in the north-east.
It also drew thousands of children and families, who could tick off each sculpture they visited via an interactive map.
The trail is set to again feature an education programme, where schools can be involved by decorating their own sculpture.
Wild in Art co-founder and managing director Charlie Langhorne said: “We’re very proud to debut the newest addition to our sculpture portfolio and introduce the Lighthouse for Light the North.
“The sculpture trail is the ideal way to get out and about with friends and family to see more of the place you live and learn about local history.
“As well as being educational, the sculptures are beautiful, each one having been lovingly created by a local artist.
“Each sculpture tells a different story; and residents and tourists enjoy following the entire trail using the trail map and app.
“From schools to community groups, local people have got behind the trails and raised millions of pounds for local causes.”
He added: “Wild in Art passionately champions the importance of art for everybody, and the social, cultural and education benefits it provides.
“Light the North is an exciting project for us as it will be the first time sculptures have lit up, which celebrates not just the maritime history of the area but the important services offered by CLAN.”
Business leaders were invited to get involved by sponsoring a lighthouse at last night’s launch.
A total of 17 firms are already on board, with the Evening Express supporting the trail as official media partner.
CLAN’s head of income and business development Fiona Fernie, who is also the project director for Light the North, said: “We want to work with exciting businesses who are passionate about engaging with the north-east, Moray, Orkney and Shetland to help us light up the region with our lighthouses.
“We have a variety of sponsorship packages to meet your business needs, inspire your staff and allow you to leave a lasting legacy across the north-east.”