14 Puffins Galore! sculptures are placed around the Bridlington area ahead of the official launch of the trail on Saturday

A public art event which makes puffins the stars of stories of conservation, global warming and green energy has taken off with the installation of the first sculptures in the Bridlington area.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 28th June 2022, 8:38 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th June 2022, 9:46 am
Artist Sarah Dalton (front) with her painted puffin at RSPB Bempton Cliffs with Scott Davidson-Smith, the visitor centre’s operations manager, and Glynis Charlton, Rick Welton and Clare Huby of Puffins Galore!
Artist Sarah Dalton (front) with her painted puffin at RSPB Bempton Cliffs with Scott Davidson-Smith, the visitor centre’s operations manager, and Glynis Charlton, Rick Welton and Clare Huby of Puffins Galore!

Organisers of Puffins Galore! placed the first sculpture at the RSPB Centre at Bempton, home to almost half a million seabirds which cram onto the cliffs every year.

Organisers of Puffins Galore! placed the first sculpture at the RSPB Centre at Bempton before moving on to Flamborough, Sewerby, and various sites around Bridlington.

From there the installation team from Hull-based Strata Group – one of the sponsors of the project – headed into Bridlington, where 10 sculptures are now displayed.

David Millington (left) and Liam Heads of Strata Holdings fix Coasty the Puffin into place at Cameron Gardens in Flamborough.

During the rest of this week the remaining puffins will be delivered to coastal locations in Hornsea, Withernsea and Spurn Point as well as to inland sites at Patrington, Hull, Beverley and Cottingham.

On Saturday, July 2, once all 42 puffins are in place, the Puffins Galore! website (puffinsgalore.co.uk) will officially launch the trail by posting details of every location and pictures of every design.

Rick Welton, co-director of Puffins Galore!, said: “Seeing our puffins settling into their new homes is the reward for months of hard work by so many people involved in the project and we are immensely grateful to all of them.

“There’s the factory in Poland where a lot of the manufacturing had to stop because some of the workers are from Ukraine, the artists across the region who came up with some wonderful designs and fantastic paintwork, the sponsors who have supported the project in such difficult times and the delivery teams who have covered hundreds of miles dropping off plinths and puffins.”

David Millington (left) and Liam Heads of Strata Holdings lifting Skipsea artist Saffron Waghorn’s puffin into place at North Landing, Flamborough.

Rick and Puffins Galore! project manager and co-director Clare Huby were both involved in the hugely successful Larkin with Toads in 2010 and the follow-up A Moth for Amy in 2016.

The initial investment and support was provided by key partner Yorkshire Coast BID and project partner Visit East Yorkshire with the aim of raising the area’s profile as a tourist destination.

Artists submitted more than 150 designs in response to a brief setting out three core themes of endangered wildlife of the coasts and seas, the global warming crisis and the growth of green energy, and people and stories of the East Yorkshire coast.

Saffron Waghorn, who is based at Skipsea, designed and painted ‘Migration The Dance of Life’, which has been placed next to the cafe at Flamborough’s North Landing, and also worked with students at East Riding College in Bridlington on their puffin ‘Protect Our Mother Earth’.

Saffron said: “Mine is about the birds that migrate, such as swifts and swallows, and highlights how hard their life is and their journey to reproduce and survive. But it’s not just puffins, it’s all sorts of creatures that are up against global warming.”

Sponsors and partners include businesses and other organisations from across East Yorkshire and further afield.

James Storrie of Bridlington Spa said: “We loved the Buccaneer design and, placed alongside our seafront location, he makes the perfect companion.”

Tracey Murray, head of curriculum for creative arts and digital skills at East Riding College, said: “East Riding College are delighted to be involved in the Puffins Galore! project. It has been a unique opportunity for our art students to get involved in a community installation that has kicked off their careers as professional artists.”

○ Puffin statue inspired by global warming – turn to page 8