After a summer of otter spotting, the Buckingham Otters bidding extravaganza begins

Did you fall in love with the otters? Would you like to become the proud owner of one? Our final key event of the project, the Buckingham Otter Auction is here and bidding opens this Friday 24th September 2021!

The Buckingham Otter Trail was a temporary feel-good public art installation featuring ten 3ft tall sized otter sculptures. Sponsored by local businesses and organisations, the otters were decorated by professional artists, school children and community groups which brought much excitement to the town over summer.

Following the removal of the otter-tastic sculptures at the end of the trail and their appearance at the first-ever Celebrate Buckingham event, Buckingham Town Council will now say their final farewells to the beloved otters as they swim away to their new forever homes.

Chairman of the Town Centre Events Committee Cllr Robin Stuchbury said “After a summer of giving so many people pleasure the otters are going up for auction, if you’ve enjoyed seeing the otters this is your opportunity to purchase one and by doing so you’ll be contributing to the Mayor’s charities and benefiting our local community, in the very same way the otters have throughout the summer. So please don’t miss this one off opportunity of owning your own Buckingham otter and by doing so you’ll be helping others”.

The bidding will be taking place online using social media and the Town CouncilPhotograph of painted otter sculptures website. Each week one otter will be added to the auction, you will have nearly two weeks to make your highest bid. The otter being auctioned will be on display at the Tourist Information Centre. Bids may be submitted through the Town Council website and by telephone.

The online event will see our large sculptures auctioned, with profits to be split equally between the Mayor’s Charities and a future similar event next summer. The Mayor’s Charities are Project Street Life and Community Care North Bucks, which includes YC2 Buckingham & Winslow Young Carers, North Bucks Carers, Open House and the Hospital Car Service. We could not be more delighted to raise money for these worthy causes, pouring funds straight back into supporting the community and making another sculpture trail next summer for everyone to enjoy.

Visit the otter auction pages to find out more information about the auction or one or more of the otter sculptures.

We’ll be sad to wave goodbye to our otters but we’re sure there are wonderful things on the horizon for them in their new homes!

Follow the Buckingham Otter Trail this Summer!

On Friday 23rd July, residents of Buckingham woke up to a delightful sight as a new family of ten colourful otter sculptures appeared across the town. Organised by Buckingham Town Council, the Buckingham Otter Trail is a free, fun art sculpture event that features 3ft otter sculptures holidaying in shop windows and surrounding green spaces. The public is invited to take part in this family-friendly activity to find all the otters making the perfect day out this summer.

The trail is live now and will continue until Monday 31st August. Buckingham Town Council hopes the art trail will attract both residents and visitors from far and wide to discover and re-discover the town and get Buckingham back to business after lockdown as well as making art accessible to all.

Councillor Margaret Gateley ‘One of my first opportunities as Mayor of Buckingham has been to meet many of the community groups and schools, who have lovingly painted one of the ten otter sculptures, which are part of the Otter Trail. It has been a delight to see their different artistic interpretations and to witness their enthusiasm for their work; this was especially evident when I was able to meet groups of schoolchildren with their own otter. I look forward to walking the trail myself’.

It is easy for people to take part, visitors can pick up a free trail map from the Tourist Information Centre inside the Buckingham Old Gaol, or you can print one yourselves on the link above. The trail is also available to follow on our community heritage exploration app Buxplore. Otter spotters will then be able to pinpoint which otters they want to see, in what order and where in the town they can be found. This also allows visitors to read more about the artists and sponsors behind the project.

Since April, the artists have been busy decorating the otters into beautiful pieces of art for your enjoyment. The funding for the project came from the underspend following events being cancelled during lockdown, and as part of the Town Centre and Event’s Committee’s work to support businesses and encourage more people to head into town. The project was also kindly supported by local businesses and charities who have sponsored an otter making the trail deeply rooted to Buckingham. Read on to hear from all the artists and sponsors behind this great initiative!

Canalotto is sponsored by the Buckingham Canal Society and painted by Zoe Day.

‘The Buckingham Canal Society are proud to be supporting the Buckingham Otter trail. Our aim is to fully restore the 10 miles of the Buckingham Arm of the Grand Union Canal, from Cosgrove right through to Buckingham. At Bourton Meadow, where our otter is located, you can see a restored ¼ mile stretch of the canal, which is a haven for many species of wildlife and flora, including kingfishers, reed warblers, herons, various butterflies, dragonflies and fish species, water voles, and even grass snakes, which love a swim on a warm day’!

‘We welcome new members and volunteers to join us; membership starts from just £4 per year - and our volunteers need no skills other than a desire to get involved, whether weekly or infrequently. We hold regular work parties at Bourton Meadow, Hyde Lane (2 miles from Buckingham) and Cosgrove, during the week and on weekends, or you can volunteer to help with admin, finance, marketing, grant applications - and much more. You can find out more at www.buckinghamcanal.org.uk 

We would like to give a special thank you to our amazing Otter Artist, Zoe Day, who is from Buckingham who painted the wonderful Canalotto’.

Zoë Day is a professional artist who has lived in and around Buckingham all of her life. Zoë studied art from a young age learning to paint wildlife with her grandmother. She went on to learn techniques and methods from some of the most prestigious art institutions including the Florence Academy, Oxford’s Ruskin School of Art and the Heatherley’s in Chelsea. Zoë set up her own Art School in 2010 and is still passionate about teaching the joy of painting in her weekly classes, while principally engaged in modern landscape painting and exhibition/commission work.

Zoë’s inspiration for this otter comes from her love of the Buckinghamshire landscape and countryside and is a celebration of this amazing project by the Canal Society to transform a disused waterway into a beautiful sanctuary for local wildlife. Try to see how many different creatures you can spot on her design!

Locki the otter is sponsored by MyFutureSelf Matters with support from local residents Charlotte and Justin who wanted to highlight the amazing work Carl was doing with local Buckingham School children. The young people chose the name ‘Locki’ as this is a reflection of the lock and key covering wallpaper and also reflecting MyFutureSelf’s ability to unlock potential in young people. They got their young people to come up with words that related to their lives and that tied in with emotional well-being, these words were then coloured in by some of the young people completing their mentoring programme.

MyFutureSelf is a mentoring service that supports young people in Buckinghamshire with their mental health, lifestyle and wellbeing. They offer 1:1 support in person or online, the age range MyFutureSelf work with is from 10 to 24 years old. MyFutureSelf aims to equip young people with tools and strategies to increase their emotional health, resilience and improve their overall wellbeing.

Patchy the otter is sponsored by Howes The Florist. They have been on Nelson Street in Buckingham for over 70 years, offering flowers for all of life's big occasions and here to celebrate the small joys too. Their hand delivery floral gifts are created by their wonderful team and are available 6 days a week, delivered locally.

‘The otter trail is a wonderful idea and having grown up in this beautiful market town we wanted to be part of raising the profile of our amazing local community. We are fortunate to be among the families benefitting from YC2 (Young Careers Buckingham), Our three children have attended village schools, as have my parents, Grandparents, Aunts and siblings. The pandemic has shown what an amazing community spirit we have in Buckingham and we are so proud to be part of this wonderful town.’

Patchy was decorated by Year 2 children at Maids Moreton C of E School. They chose an Elmer inspired patchwork design for their otter. The whole class took part, with each child designing and painting a section. The children wanted to make his fur appear realistic so opted for tones of brown. They thoroughly enjoyed the design process and were very proud of their finished product.

Prints of the Future is sponsored by Gawcott Fields Community Solar Project CIC who are a not for profit enterprise which owns a community solar array at Gawcott Fields Farm between Gawcott and Buckingham. The 4.17-megawatt solar array is made up of over 16,000 solar panels and is expected to generate over 4 million kWh of renewable electricity each year. That’s equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of around 1,000 homes. Surplus income generated by the solar array (after operating and financing costs) is used to support community projects in the local area.

Prints of the Future was painted by Roundwood Primary School. They wanted all the children to be part of the painting so they decided the best way to do that was by decorating the sculpture with fingerprints. They named their otter 'Prints of the Future' as one day, in the not-too-distant future, it will be the hands from these prints that serve our community. The children thoroughly enjoyed decorating with their fingerprints and watching as the number of prints grew with a visit to each year group. They really fell for their otter sculpture and were all sad when it had to be collected but they hope people will enjoy finding it as a part of the trail.

Monty the otter is sponsored by Bucks Radio. Bucks Radio is the new sound of Buckinghamshire, aiming to bring local radio back to the county. They have been overwhelmed by the support they’ve received so far, and are looking forward to becoming a part of Bucks life. Between them, their team have been working, and broadcasting, in the area for over 40 years, so they believe they understand what matters to you.

Right now they’re broadcasting online, via smart speakers and app, meaning you can take them with you wherever you go. They have the latest news, weather and travel, and loads of community information, including a free What's On Guide and features like Charity Friday.

They are supporting local businesses, and have a variety of advertising and sponsorship packages available, and are happy to talk about bespoke competitions and partnerships.

Monty was painted by children attending Bourton Meadow Academy. They were very excited to receive their otter and decisions turned to how it should be decorated. Many suggestions were submitted but they decided to settle on a doodle design in the style of Mr Doodle. They felt this would allow the children maximum range of creativity whilst have a theme running throughout all the designs. They liked the idea of lots of individual ideas being knitted together through the use of simple black lines.

The children were introduced to the work of Mr Doodle and asked to design their own doodle idea to be included on the otter. They wanted the children to be able to express their creativity so left the theme quite open.

Lacey the otter is sponsored by Barratt and David Wilson Homes.

“Our St Rumbold’s Fields development in Buckingham gave us the opportunity to sponsor the Buckingham Otter Trail this year and we are so proud to get behind such a fantastic community event. We want to encourage people to take part, support local businesses and see some brilliant art created by pupils at Lace Hill Academy. We look forward to the event and to continuing to support the Buckingham community.”

Lacey was decorated by reception children at Lace Hill Academy. They were really excited to be part of the community otter project. The first thing we did was to decide if it was a boy or a girl. We put boy and girl written on two pieces of paper and one was pulled out. The idea for the pattern was inspired by the history of the area around Lace Hill and Buckingham. Many of the street names have a lace or sewing source, Catchpin Street, Bobbins Way, Threads Lane and Linen Lane. The children painted the base colour of dark purple and cream for her tummy and then a ‘lacy’ pattern was stencilled on the top with a doily to break up the base colour. They worked in small groups throughout the week to stencil the patterns. The children then wanted to add some bright colours so they decided on yellows for the tummy and tail and pinks for the main body. The children were very proud of the finished result and were sad when Lacey left to get varnished.

Jeff the otter is sponsored by Heritage and Sons Buckingham. Heritage & Sons are proud to serve the wider community in Buckinghamshire and to support the fantastic Buckingham Otter Trail. They are part of CPJ Field, a leading family-run funeral service provider which operates funeral homes across South East England. At CPJ Field we understand that no two lives are the same, which is why every funeral we arrange is completely individual too. Whether you’re making the arrangements for a loved one or prudently planning your own, we’re here for you in every way.

Over the past three centuries, CPJ Field has been actively owned and managed by the Field family through ten generations. It is our solemn promise to help you to make your funeral experience as personal and individual as possible.

Jeff was decorated by Buckingham Primary School children with the help of local artist Clare Tebboth. Their design was inspired by the natural world around Buckingham and wanted it to reflect the animals, birds and insects they have seen on their many walks during lockdown. The design incorporates lots of ideas taken from the year 6 children and discussions they had around the theme. They liked the idea that you could find lots of different creatures hidden around the sculpture and hoped that it would appeal to both young and old, counting the insects, finding the toad or even the hedgehog!

Clare Tebboth is a primary school teacher at Buckingham Primary school specialising in art.  When she is not at school she is an artist exhibiting work in galleries working in predominantly oils and watercolours.  She also teaches adults art at Vitreus Art Gallery, Towcester and has been chair for many years of Buckingham Art for All - a popular local community art group.

Jimmy Fisher the otter was sponsored by Buckingham Town Council and lovingly painted by children who attend YC2 Buckingham & Winslow Young Carers with a little bit of help from local designer Kate Lowe.

YC2 enjoyed painting their sculpture at Otter HQ and decided to include their big red balloon logo and thistledown floating in the sky. Designer Kate took all 65 sets of initials of their current register and painted them on in the tiniest lettering meaning Jimmy Fisher will always have a record of each young carer who is a member of YC2 in 2020/21. Further inspiration came and Jimmy has a pretty daisy chain necklace and is holding a large fish that he has just caught and is about to enjoy!

Buckingham and Winslow Young Carers provide regular programmes of activities for children and young people aged 6-18 with significant personal caring responsibilities for one or more family members with physical, mental or learning disabilities an opportunity for rest bite.

Flo the otter was sponsored by Buckingham Town Council and decorated by nurses at Buckingham Community Hospital and water marbling artist Derryn Snowdon.

Derryn took the otter to Buckingham Hospital and the team on duty named her, whilst taking turns to try their hand at water marbling for the very first time which was a very therapeutic artistic day at work. Derryn taught them some of the practices and terms in traditional Turkish marbling and they took to it like ...well as an otter to water! Flo was named after Florence Nightingale, and echo’s the flow in water marbling design and the water where otters live.  Flo represents a journey of exploration for us all. The non-marbled parts provide a neutral background to display the marbled parts. The smudges and incomplete patterns draw you in to complete the pattern in your mind.

Olive Otterson the otter is sponsored by The University of Buckingham and has been decorated by their Students’ Union.

‘The University is delighted to participate in the Otter Trail initiative. Positive relationships with our local community are really important to the university and we love seeing residents enjoying our campus facilities. The University has educated thousands of students from all over the world for almost fifty years and we employ many of our staff from within the community. We hope the Otter Trail and our University Otter will encourage families to make use of the University Bookshop and (if Covid guidelines allow) that you make a visit to the Vinson Building and experience the University Café. We very much look forward to welcoming you.'

For enquiries please contact Paul Hodson at Buckingham Town Council on 01280 816426, office@buckingham-tc.gov.uk.

Buckingham Otter Trail

Download your free trail map today

A new family of ten otters are visiting Buckingham this summer! Decorated by local school children, artists and community groups and sponsored by local businesses and charities. Find ten 3ft life size otter sculptures dotted around town and surrounding green spaces. It is easy to take part, you can pick up a map from the Tourist Information Centre or download one via our website and you can also follow the trail on our community heritage exploration app Buxplore. The Buckingham Otter Trail is a feel-good art sculpture event that is on throughout summer 2021 making a perfect family friendly day out.

 

 

Buckingham Otter Trail (Fringe Week)

This year residents are in for an otter-tastic summer!

The Buckingham Otter Trail is a free, fun, family-friendly art sculpture event. It will feature 10 3ft otters designed by local artists, school children, businesses and charities. The event has been organised to bring the community together and to help residents and businesses recover. A trail map will be available and the otters will be positioned around town and surrounding green spaces, making the perfect family day out this year.

Thank you to our event sponsors – Buckingham Canal Society, Heritage and Sons, Gawcott Fields Community Solar Project CIC, University of Buckingham, Howes The Florist, Bucks Radio, Barratt and David Wilson Homes, and MyFutureSelf Matters.

For more information and updates, please visit our Buckingham Otter Trail page and Facebook event page.

Buckingham Otter Trail

The Buckingham Otter Trail 2021 was a temporary feel good public art event featuring ten individually decorated, 3ft sized otter sculptures displayed across town and surrounding green spaces from July 23rd - August 31st.

The trail was a fantastic way for residents and visitors to explore Buckingham and find out more about its businesses, artists and local attractions. Sponsored by local businesses and organisations, the otters were beautifully decorated by professional artists, school children and community groups in all sorts of colours and mediums which brought much excitement to the town over summer.

The free, inclusive public art sculpture trail was the perfect family friendly day out and made many happy memories. All ten otters were together one final time which gave people a chance to say their final farewells at the first ever Celebrate Buckingham Event. If you didn't get a chance to do the the trail you can read all about it below.

The sculptures will now be auctioned off to raise funds for the Mayor's charities and to support a future similar event in 2022.

Otter name: Jeff

Our design was inspired by the natural world around Buckingham and wanted to reflect the animals, birds and insects we have seen on our many walks during lockdown. The design incorporates lots of ideas taken from the year 6 children and discussions we had around the theme. We liked the idea that you could find lots of different creatures hidden around the sculpture and hoped that it would appeal to both young and old, counting the insects, finding the toad or even the hedgehog! We named him Jeff - not entirely sure how that happened - he's enjoying being in our school reception at the moment welcoming visitors!

I'm a primary school teacher at Buckingham Primary school specialising in art. When not at school I am also an artist exhibiting my work in galleries working in predominantly oils and watercolours. I also teach adults art at Vitreus Art Gallery, Towcester. I have been chair for many years of Buckingham Art for All - a popular local community art group

Heritage & Sons are proud to serve the wider community in Buckinghamshire and to support the fantastic Buckingham Otter Trail. We are part of CPJ Field, a leading family-run funeral service provider which operates funeral homes across South East England. At CPJ Field we understand that no two lives are the same, which is why every funeral we arrange is completely individual too. Whether you’re making the arrangements for a loved one or prudently planning your own, we’re here for you in every way. Over the past three centuries, CPJ Field has been actively owned and managed by the Field family through ten generations. It is our solemn promise to help you to make your funeral experience as personal and individual as possible.

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Otter name: Canalotto

Artist: Zoe Day

Zoë Day is a professional artist who has lived in and around Buckingham all of her life. Zoë studied art from a young age learning to paint wildlife with her grandmother. She went on to learn techniques and methods from some of the most prestigious art institutions including the Florence Academy, Oxford’s Ruskin School of Art and the Heatherley’s in Chelsea. Zoë set up her own Art School in 2010 and is still passionate about teaching the joy of painting in her weekly classes, while principally engaged in modern landscape painting and exhibition/commission work.

Zoë’s inspiration for this otter comes from her love of the Buckinghamshire landscape and countryside and is a celebration of this amazing project by the Canal Society to transform a disused waterway into a beautiful sanctuary for local wildlife. Try to see how many different creatures you can spot on her design!

The Buckingham Canal Society are proud to be supporting the Buckingham Otter trail. Our aim is to fully restore the 10 miles of the Buckingham Arm of the Grand Union Canal, from Cosgrove right through to Buckingham. At Bourton Meadow, where our otter is located, you can see a restored ¼ mile stretch of the canal, which is a haven for many species of wildlife and flora, including kingfishers, reed warblers, herons, various butterflies, dragonflies and fish species, water voles, and even grass snakes, which love a swim on a warm day’!

‘We welcome new members and volunteers to join us; membership starts from just £4 per year - and our volunteers need no skills other than a desire to get involved, whether weekly or infrequently. We hold regular work parties at Bourton Meadow, Hyde Lane (2 miles from Buckingham) and Cosgrove, during the week and on weekends, or you can volunteer to help with admin, finance, marketing, grant applications - and much more. You can find out more at www.buckinghamcanal.org.uk

‘We would like to give a special thank you to our amazing Otter Artist, Zoe Day, who is from Buckingham who painted the wonderful Canalotto’.

Otter name: Lockii

Artist: Young people at My FutureSelf Matters

MyFutureSelf Matters with the support from local residents Charlotte and Justin who wanted to highlight the amazing work Carl was doing for local Buckingham School children: "We covered the otter in a key/padlock covering to highlight MyFutureSelf unlocking the potential of young people in the Buckingham area. We then got our young people to come up with words that related to their lives and that tied in with emotional well-being, these words were then coloured in by some of the young people completing our mentoring programme’. The young people chose the name Lockii because this is a reflection of the lock and key covering.is a mentoring service who support young people in Buckinghamshire with their mental health, lifestyle and wellbeing.

Carl is the founder and owner of MyFutureSelf Matters. It is a mentoring service that supports young people in Buckinghamshire with their mental health, lifestyle and wellbeing. They offer 1:1 support in person or online and work with children from 10 to 24 years old. MyFutureSelf Matters aim to equip young people with tools and strategies to increase their emotional health, resilience and improve their overall well-being.

Otter name: Prints of the Future

We wanted all Roundwood children to be part of painting our otter for the trail so we decided the best way to do that was by decorating our sculpture with fingerprints. We named our otter 'Prints of the Future' as one day, in the not-too-distant future, it will be the hands from these prints that serve our community. The children thoroughly enjoyed decorating with their fingerprints and watching as the number of prints grew with a visit to each year group. We have to say we really fell for our otter sculpture and were all sad when it had to be collected but we hope people will enjoy finding it as a part of the trail.

Gawcott Solar CIC is a not for profit enterprise which owns a community solar array at Gawcott Fields Farm between Gawcott and Buckingham. The 4.17 megawatt solar array is made up of over 16,000 solar panels and is expected to generate over 4 million kWh of renewable electricity each year. That’s equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of around 1,000 homes. Surplus income generated by the solar array (after operating and financing costs) is used so support community projects in the local area.

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Otter name: Lacey

The children were really excited to be part of the community otter project. The first thing we did was to decide if it was a boy or a girl. We put boy and girl written on two pieces of paper in a hat and one was pulled out. Girl was drawn, so we named her Lacey. The idea for the pattern was inspired by the history of the area around Lace Hill and Buckingham. Many of the street names have a lace or sewing source, Catchpin Street, Bobbins Way, Threads Lane and Linen Lane. I thought it would be relevant to our estate and the Buckingham area to try and reflect and depict the historical lace-making past. I thought decorating the otter with a lacey pattern would reflect this. The children painted the base colour of dark purple and cream for her tummy and then a ‘lacey’ pattern was stenciled on the top with a doily to break up the base colour. They worked in small groups throughout the week to stencil the patterns. The children then wanted to add some bright colours so they decided on yellows for the tummy and tail and pinks for the main body. The children were very proud of the finished result and were sad when Lacey left to get varnished.

Barratt David Wilson Homes is part of Barratt Developments plc - the country’s leading house-builder. Barratt is committed to building quality homes and this year received more NHBC Pride in the Job Quality awards than any other house-builder for the 16th year in a row and was awarded 5 stars by the HBF for customer satisfaction for the eleventh year in a row.

As a house-builder that is committed to supporting the communities in which it builds, Barratt David Wilson Homes, who are currently building at selection of 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 bedroom homes at its St Rumbold’s Fields development in Buckingham, is proud to sponsor the Buckingham Otter Trail this year. It’s a great opportunity for residents and visitors to get behind local businesses and engage with a fantastic community event, as well as adding some fun public art to the local area.

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Otter name: Patchy

Our Year 2 class chose an Elmer inspired patchwork design for our otter. The whole class took part, with each child designing and painting a section. The children wanted to make his fur appear realistic so opted for tones of brown. They thoroughly enjoyed the design process and were very proud of their finished product.

Howes the Florist has been on Nelson Street in Buckingham for over 70 years, offering flowers for all of life's big occasions and here to celebrate the small joys too. Our hand delivery floral gifts are created by our wonderful team and available 6 days a week, delivered locally.

The otter trail is a wonderful idea and having grown up in this beautiful market town we wanted to be part of raising the profile of our amazing local community. We are fortunate to be among the families benefitting for YC2 (Young Careers Buckingham), Our three children have attended village schools, as have my parents, Grandparents, Aunts and siblings. The pandemic has shown what an amazing community spirit we have in Buckingham and we are so proud to be part of this wonderful town.

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Otter name: Olive Otterson

Olive Otterson was decorated by the Students' Union.

The University is delighted to participate in the Otter Trail initiative. Positive relationships with our local community are really important to the university and we love seeing residents enjoying our campus facilities. The University has educated thousands of students from all over the word for almost fifty years and we employ many of our staff from within the community. We hope the Otter Trail and our University Otter will encourage families to make use of the University Bookshop and (if Covid guidelines allow) that you make a visit to the Vinson Building and experience the University Café. We very much look forward to welcoming you.

The University of Buckingham Bookshop owner Alison Cameron: “We are the only independent bookshop in Buckingham and you can find us in the Vinson Building on Hunter Street. We stock all sorts of beautiful books and our in-store selection of children’s books are always half price! We can get most books the next day and there is a lovely local customer discount. We recommend based on our customer reviews and also work with local schools making sure the best books are available to all ages of children. You can follow us on Facebook and Instagram or email book.shop@buckingham.ac.uk or call on 01280 820365. We are passionate about promoting a love of reading whether you’re 1 or 101!"

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Otter name: Monty

There was much excitement when we received our otter and decisions turned to how it should be decorated. Many suggestions were submitted but we decided to settle on a doodle design in the style of Mr Doodle. We felt this would allow the children maximum range of creativity whilst have a theme running throughout all the designs. We liked the idea of lots of individual ideas being knitted together through the use of simple black lines.
The children were introduced to the work of Mr Doodle and asked to design their own doodle idea to be included on the otter. We wanted the children to be able to express their own creativity so left the theme quite open. Initially, we had ideas come in that were quite animal based and you’ll see some designs around Disney too.

Bucks Radio is the new sound of Buckinghamshire, aiming to bring local radio back to the county. We've been overwhelmed by the support we've received so far, and are looking forward to becoming a part of Bucks life. Between them, our team have been working, and broadcasting, in the area for over 40 years, so we understand what matters to you. Right now we're broadcasting online, via smart speakers and app, meaning you can take us with you wherever you go. We have the latest news, weather and travel, and loads of community information, including our free What's On Guide and features like Charity Friday.

We're supporting local business, and have a variety of advertising and sponsorship packages available, and are happy to talk about bespoke competitions and partnerships. We are looking forward to the relaxation of current restrictions so that we can get out and about in the local community again.

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Otter name: Jimmy Fisher

Artist: YC2/ Buckingham & Winslow Young Carers and designer Kate Lowe

Sponsor: Buckingham Town Council

We were invited to take part in the Buckingham Town Council’s project intended to encourage families to come back into the town centre after the restrictions of the last 18 months.

Week one was when the team were introduced to the metre-high, life-sized Otter who quickly was named ‘Jimmy Fisher’. The team walked around him, studied him and took part in a 10 question UK Otter Quiz which helped them make their designs really personal to our own otter population. Each of the team produced separate designs - it became clear that our Jimmy Fisher would reflect the local countryside - meadows of waving grass and reeds, wildflowers including dandelions, daisies and thistles. Insects vital to a healthy ecosystem were included-bright yellow and black bees, blue/white/lemon butterflies and a glowing sun and rainbow to signify the elements needed for a healthy countryside.

YC2’s logo is a big red balloon with ‘YC2’ written on it, it is on the young carer and volunteer hoodies and tee shirts, so balloons floating in the blue sky was an essential addition to Jimmy’s main body with fluffy white clouds scudding across. His head was brown and he had bright blue eyes. Small woodland and waterside animals also were drawn as of course otters share their habitat with lots of other wild creatures.

Week 2: the start, it was a bit daunting as at that stage he seemed VERY WHITE and VERY LARGE, but the team quickly started on the main areas of his body.

Week 3-7: Local artist Kate Lowe and owner of bagsymefirst.com came on board to help advise the children on the overall concept so that all of their ideas could be incorporated. As the weeks went on Jimmy became very important to us all, he represented the freedom that many young carers do not always have, and he was seen as strong and living as part of the natural world we all know is so important. She took Jimmy home each Friday night after the latest painting had been done, to sketch on more of the children’s designs ready for the following week.

Jimmy certainly reflects the individual approach of the Team, the girls love a ‘bit of bling’ so the clouds and balloons, even the edges of the reeds and grasses had little spots of glitter applied. One of the first designs showed thistledown floating in the sky, so artist Kate took all 65 sets of initials of our current register and painted them on in the tiniest lettering ever seen. Jimmy Fisher will always have a record of each young carer who is a member of YC2 in 2020/21. Further inspiration came and Jimmy has a pretty daisy chain necklace and is holding a large fish that he has just caught and is about to enjoy!

Otter name: Flo

Artist: Derryn Snowdon and staff at Buckingham Community Hospital

Sponsor: Buckingham Town Council

Derryn Snowdon, Inspired Marbling: "I began water marbling in Istanbul. We call it 'ebru' in Turkish and it is an ancient art of creating patterns on a watery base and then transferring them to paper (usually). Marbling an otter was an adventure for me as an amateur water marbling artist. The size and shape of the statue was a challenge and I needed all my creative powers to find ways to get more of Flo marbled.

Possibility, challenge, adventure: "I took the otter to Buckingham Hospital staff, who named her, whilst taking turns to try their hand at water marbling for the very first time. I taught them some of the practices and terms in traditional Turkish marbling and they took to it like …well like an otter to water! Flo was named after Florence Nightingale, and echo's the flow in water marbling design and the water where otters live. Flo represents a journey of exploration for us all. The non-marbled parts provide a neutral background to display the marbled parts. The smudges and incomplete patterns draw you in to complete the pattern in your mind. I hope as you enjoy exploring Flo and our marbling art you will wonder what marbling pattern would you have liked to add to Flo?"