Giant hare sculptures pop up to mark cancer charity's 40th anniversary

The Big Hop Trail is drumming up cash for cancer charity CLAN as it marks 40 years helping patients and their families.

Giant hare sculptures have been installed across the north of Scotland as part of a cancer fundraising trail.

The Big Hop Trail has seen 40 six-foot tall hare statues placed across regions covered by cancer support charity CLAN to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

CLAN offers a range of services at its wellbeing centres and community outreach facilities across the north of Scotland, Moray, Orkney and Shetland.

The hare sculpture was chosen because the animal is found across CLAN’s geography and is known for its resilience.

The charity hopes the interactive trail will encourage people to “hop out and about and discover them ‘hare, there and everywhere’.”

Chief executive Fiona Fernie said: “It is so exciting to finally see our hare sculptures out in the wild after months of preparation with sponsors, artists and venues to bring this free art trail to communities across the north of Scotland.

“Each sculpture has been individually designed with many depicting a character or sparking a conversation about important topics including environmental issues and health and wellbeing. They all have a story to tell and are now waiting to be discovered.

“The Big Hop Trail is a wonderful activity which allows people of all ages to explore the beautiful scenery on offer across the north of Scotland and experience some truly unique and inspiring artwork, all whilst supporting Clan Cancer Support’s vital work.”

Artist Penny Downes is one of a number of local artists who have been busy designing and painting the sculptures. She  was one of the first to reveal her sculpture, ‘Let your dreams take flight’ at Aberdeen Beach.

Her hare, which features a colourful spray-painted north-east Scotland skyline, encourages viewers to not let anything hold them back.  

She said: “I think I’m speaking for all the artists when I say it’s a supreme honour to be part of this community art initiative which really encourages people to get out and about more and celebrate everything your community stands for.”

As well as ‘Let your dreams take flight’, other sculptures on The Big Hop Trail have been inspired by pirates, the Mad Hatter, Harry Styles and Aberdeen Football Club’s European cup win at Gothenberg.

The Big Hop Trail is the latest of several hugely popular art trails which CLAN has organised.

In its 40th year, CLAN hopes to highlight the work it has done and the progress made against cancer over the last four decades.

Fiona Fernie added: “A cancer diagnosis 40 years ago was very different to what it is today and to be able to have the same values as we have now which were established in 1983 still at our core is fabulous.

“Its first-class cancer support across the north east of Scotland.”

The hares will be on display until September when they will be auctioned for the charity.

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