2014 – New season, old van, fresh approach…
A big “thank you” to local police officer Donald McCuish, who, following the attempted theft of the wee TOF collecting box from my van a couple of years ago, suggested that same van, being not the most pristine example of motor engineering excellence, might BECOME the collecting tin.
I thought it was a brilliant idea back then, didn’t get a chance to implement it last year because the van had to be taken off the road, but this year I’ve finally plucked up the courage to cut a coin slot on both side panels to accept donations. This means the van can collect donations 24/7, with the security of locked doors all round. I will of course be emptying it every day.
EVERY Pound or Euro, penny or cent donated will support otters here on the Isle of Mull and all across the Hebrides through the following means:
Otter conservation measures
Welfare of individual otters
Public education and awareness
Long-term otter research
The collecting boxes suspended from the side of the van on both sides are just props to attract attention and it’s not possible to put money into them. I’ve also purchased a second van for personal use so that I don’t have to “hire” the TOF van from myself as I had to in 2012 and 2013 whenever I needed to drive anywhere (this “hire” fee being what I calculated the lost donations might be for the time the van was away and not collecting money – crazy I know!!).
And before anyone complains (and there will be some!) about where the money is coming from for all these van costs (tax, insurance etc), I’m paying for it all out of my own pocket, just as I have always done, with NOTHING taken from the Fund.
So, be assured that when you visit Tobermory, and pop a couple of pennies in the new slots, EVERY penny will go to help otters, just as it always has.
If you want to find the TOF van, it will be spending the season on Main Street, close to the world-famous Mishnish Hotel/pub that I live next door to. Come and give it a stroke :¬)
It’s official! Mull Otter Group is now up and running as a constituted organisation. With the as yet unexplained death of our very own celebrity otter right here in Tobermory, it’s not before time!
On 26 May, a gathering of otter enthusiasts met at An Roth in Craignure and thrashed through all the boring procedural matters required to put the organisation on a proper footing. Key committee Officers were appointed; so welcome to Jane Stevens (Chair), Debby Thorne (Secretary), Ian Dickinson (Treasurer), together with press officer Barbara Macfarlane. All have been incredibly busy since being appointed.
The intention is that as the Tobermory Otter Fund is wound down as the sculpture project nears completion (see previous blog), its online presence and bank account etc will pass, seamlessly of course (!), to the new Mull Otter Group. Then the real otter conservation work can start in earnest, with lots of exciting and important projects being discussed.
As ever, if you would like to support the work of the new group, please donate via the Tobermory Otter Fund website donations page, and indicate that you wish your donation to be used for MOG’s work.
As for the rest, watch this space :¬)
Welcome everyone! Here are the current sculpture options we’re considering for the Tobermory otter project and a quick resume of our thinking.
We are now looking for matched funding to complete this particular project, so please get in touch if you are aware of anyone who may wish to help us.
First of all, let me iterate that the sculpture fund has recently topped £5000 and contrary to previous postings will remain open until further notice, not least because I had forgotten to factor in the VAT we would have to raise. All donations received are now being split 50/50, with half going into the main otter conservation fund being used to support the work of the new Mull Otter Group. Please let me know if your donation is intended to be used exclusively for the sculpture project OR the conservation fund, and I will ensure it goes exactly where you want it.
Following a visit to Skye last November to meet sculptor Laurence Broderick (www.laurencebroderick.co.uk), I’ve narrowed down our best options to the following four alternatives. I’m hoping there’s something here to please everyone. I thought it would be worthwhile to gather thoughts from all of you out there in Facebookland.
Please feel free to comment on our Facebook page (open access, link on our website Home page) or you can always contact me via this website where you’ll find the email firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget, the concept is to include a receptacle for donations within the sculpture itself (ie in the base or plinth), so the sculpture will be working hard every day to raise money for otter conservation.
The photomontage shows three sculptures. Laurence is holding a diving otter, I’m admiring the sculpture we initially proposed and the third on the right is actually a fountain, 152cms tall, that’s approximately 5 feet in old money. The water would cascade from the top points of the fronds (though it also stands alone as a sculpture even without water running).
The concept is to enlarge either of the diving/swimming otters to a size that is deemed appropriate for Tobermory. This enlargement is actually an incredibly expensive process and will require further funding that I aim to obtain via the likes of matched funding from art bodies etc.
The last, fourth, option is that Laurence has offered at some point in the future to produce a bespoke original piece for Tobermory. He will let me have approximate costings for this when he is able to. If we go this route, there will be a significant delay as Laurence is very much in demand.
TOF Co-ordinator Nic Davies (left) presents the Chalmers family (that’s Thomas, Robert, Helen and Gordon) with their prize for winning the 2012 competition. This Tobermory family has supported the otter project ever since 2010, so this photo canvas of a Mull otter mum and cub, is going to a good home.
Many thanks to Lydia at the THA for taking the photo and to the THA Marine Visitor Centre for allowing us to do the presentation in their brand new display area in Tobermory (well worth a visit).
OK, to the reason the Fund exists and why we’re asking for everyone’s help.
I have NO Photoshop skills whatsoever, so I apologise for this extremely amateurish mock-up of how the sculpture could look in Tobermory Bay. In this imaginary position, we would of course require the permission of those who oversee this area of land, and in no way is this mock-up intended to suggest that we have obtained permission. It’s just a concept.
This photo of the sculpture was taken at Balloch (Lomond Shores). The Tobermory plinth would have a collecting box integrated within it to collect donations for otter conservation work for years to come.
This is a new website designed to promote and support the work of the Tobermory Otter Fund. You may have arrived here because you’ve seen one of our flyers asking for donations to support the purchase of a bronze otter statue to commemorate Elvis, the Tobermory otter. Check out the “About us” page for more details.
For more information we can be contacted by email at email@example.com