Kev’s sculp­tures spark big com­mu­nity ef­fort

Fund­ing is raised for re­treat

Strathearn Herald - - MEMORY LANE - Johnathon Men­zies

When artist Kev Pax­ton agreed to place his eye­catch­ing sculp­tures on two lo­cal roads, he could not have pre­dicted the rip­ple ef­fect sto­ries link­ing his work to a char­ity build­ing project in aid of young cancer pa­tients would have on the sur­round­ing com­mu­nity.

Three of the black­smith’s cre­ations can been seen as part of the A84 and A85 BLiSS trail – a chain of 22 in­stal­la­tions first un­veiled in April and hosted by the Loch Earn Tourism In­for­ma­tion (LETi) group to cel­e­brate the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s Year of In­no­va­tion, Ar­chi­tec­ture and De­sign 2016.

His con­tri­bu­tions in­clude the three me­tre-high steel ‘Sun­flow­ers’ at the Golden Larches Restau­rant in Balquhid­der Sta­tion; ‘Bill The Bull’ at the Loc­hearn­head Ho­tel and the ‘Blawn Wi The Wind’ gi­ant this­tles at Briar Cot­tages on Loch Earn.

In ad­di­tion to his art­work, Kev is also an am­bas­sador for the Rip­ple Re­treat build­ing project on Loch Ve­nachar. The in­spi­ra­tion of It’s Good 2 Give char­ity founder and chair Lynne McNi­coll and led by ar­chi­tect Tony Ket­tle, the hol­i­day house is un­der con­struc­tion and will even­tu­ally al­low young cancer pa­tients to en­joy time away with their fam­i­lies.

Since learn­ing of the fa­cil­ity through Kev’s in­volve­ment with the BLiSS trail, vil­lagers in Balquhid­der, Loc­hearn­head, Strathyre and St Fil­lans have raised £ 1450 for the Rip­ple Re­treat build­ing.

Loc­hearn­head Ho­tel owner Amanda Kerr was spon­sored to take part in the Run MHOR half marathon, rais­ing £605.

A fur­ther £750 was col­lected at the com­mu­nity foot­ball fundraiser held the day af­ter the re­cent High­land Games in Loc­hearn­head.

The lat­ter sees mar­ried men play against lo­cal bach­e­lors in the High­land Games field. Mar­ried ladies also play sin­gle ladies at half- time en­ter­tain­ment, and cov­eted team tro­phies are awarded at full-time.

“BLiSS trail sculp­tures have cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of lo­cals, which is how we found out about the Rip­ple Re­treat,” ex­plained Martin San­ders, who cham­pi­oned this year’s foot­ball fundraisin­g event in Loc­hearn­head.

He added: “We will watch the build­ing progress with in­ter­est and thank ev­ery­one who do­nated.”

Amanda, along wi t h Loc­hearn­head Ho­tel chef Robert Kerr, is proud to dis­play ‘Bill The Bull’ within her es­tab­lish­ment’s grounds.

She said: “We learned that each strand of Bill‘s mul­ti­coloured metal coat was painted by chil­dren, who do­nated money to Its Good 2 Give in re­turn for mak­ing their in­deli­ble mark.

“Bill has been de­light­ing fam­i­lies at our ho­tel and Kev’s Rip­ple Re­treat sto­ries in­spired me to run the half marathon to col­lect more funds.”

LETi chair Kim Proven said: “Lo­cal tourism busi­nesses have been hon­oured to host Kev’s head-turn­ing sculp­tures.

“They have been light­ing up the faces of vis­i­tors of all age groups. I de­scribe Kev as a cre­ative metal artist who works in steel with a heart of gold.

“We in­vite any­one who has not ex­pe­ri­enced his amaz­ing in­stal­la­tions along­side other gifted artists’ and ar­chi­tects’ work, to visit our nat­u­rally beautiful and wel­com­ing vil­lages soon - with a camera and ‘selfie’ stick!”

It’s Good 2 Give’s Lynne McNi­coll de­clared: “I am de­lighted to have the sup­port of the lo­cal com­mu­nity around the Rip­ple Re­treat and with such in­no­va­tive fundraisin­g.

“Com­mu­nity fundraisin­g has been at the heart of It’s Good 2 Give – most of the money raised for the Rip­ple Re­treat has been done this way and I am so proud of that. When we open the doors of the re­treat to fam­i­lies of young cancer pa­tients in 2017 we do so know­ing that we all played a part in its cre­ation.

“Well done and a mas­sive thank you to the vil­lagers. I wish now that I had seen the foot­ball fundraiser – it sounds lots of fun!

“I was for­tu­nate enough to meet Amanda be­fore she took part in the half marathon and I very much look for­ward to meet­ing more of the com­mu­nity in the com­ing months.”

Team ef­fort

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