Charity sculpture unveiled at Holyrood

Dr Colette Backwell and Fiona Fernie with the lighthouse
Dr Colette Backwell and Fiona Fernie with the lighthouse

A north-east charity took part in an annual reception at Holyrood recently, as part of the year of coasts and waters.

CLAN Cancer Support was invited to take part in the prestigious reception by VisitScotland, which was launching its initiative to celebrate Scotland’s coastal landscape at Holyrood on Wednesday, January 29.

CLAN’s senior management team attended the reception to showcase its Light the North campaign, a lighthouse themed education and art programme.

The reception took place in the Garden Lobby at the Scottish Parliament, and was attended by Stuart McMillan, MSP, Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs and John Thurso, Chairman of VisitScotland.

At the reception, CLAN was able to present its 8ft high lighthouse sculpture, which is the first of a series of 30 sculptures which will be placed across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray, Orkney and Shetland to form a trail for visitors and locals alike.

The lighthouse, which was transported from Aberdeen to Edinburgh by Light the North haulage sponsor Colin Lawson Transport, was recently decorated at CLAN House in Aberdeen by local artist Katie Guthrie.

Light the North is a unique celebratory art sculpture trail which will see over 30 lighthouses designed and created by some of the area’s most talented artists.

The trail, which will take place in Autumn 2020, will raise significant funds for and awareness of the vital support provided by CLAN. The lighthouse trail will take people on a cultural tour of the north-east, Moray, Orkney and Shetland, letting them discover and engage with the region like never before.

The lighthouses are being sponsored by local businesses, and individuals and a schools’ education programme is available to encourage young people to learn about the importance of lighthouses to the north-east as well as designing and creating their own little lighthouse sculpture.

Dr Colette Backwell, chief executive of CLAN, said: “It is an honour to have been part of VisitScotland’s parliamentary reception. We enjoyed meeting MSPs to tell them about the cancer support services provided by CLAN, and also about our exciting sculpture trail, which will both raise awareness for the cancer support services we offer and the area’s impressive coastal heritage.

“CLAN chose a lighthouse for its trail as the charity has often been described as a beacon of hope and offering light in the darkness, like lighthouses themselves. We are delighted to be part of the year of coasts and waters and proud that the trail will enhance the work done by VisitScotland to celebrate our history and natural environment.”

Chelsea Charles, VisitScotland’s Themed Years Communications & Engagement Manager, added: “During this year we will be encouraging visitors and residents to visit and enjoy our coasts and waters, so we are proud to partner with Light the North which will encourage people to travel around and visit each sculpture, and learn more about the importance of lighthouses which have protected our shores."