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!