A yellow eyed penguin. Image courtesy of Biological Diversity
The yellow eyed is the rarest penguin species. Found only in New Zealand, it is also one of the most endangered birds on the planet. This is why sculptor Eve Shepherd chose to represent it within the skirts of her statue design.
Along with the other birds in the statue skirt - including an albatross and an avocet - the penguin was on display at RSPB Lakenheath Fen in Suffolk.
Lakenheath Fen will be one of the reserves receiving money as a result of Andrew's cycle ride. Please donate here: Andrew's fundraising page.
Eighty year old John Adlam has been a birder for forty years. Over that time he has seen and recorded 2,200 species of birds but had never seen a yellow eyed penguin before. He examined the maquette and declared: "I'm partial to puffins!"
John Adlam from Braintree, Essex with the maquette
Like John, reserve manager Emma Cuthbertson has a soft spot for puffins and had really looked forward to the statue design arriving on site.
Emma Cuthbertson at Lakenheath Fen
Remarkably, given all the talk of bitterns at RSPB Minsmere the day before, staff at Lakenheath had a full sized wooden bittern on display!
The Lakenheath Fen bittern with Emily
Volunteer David explained the remarkable transformation in the bitterns' fortunes. From only eleven booming males left in the UK in the 1980s, a 2016 survey found 60 pairs and rising.
Lakenheath Fen volunteers and staff. L to R Heidi, Roy, Emma and David
Tomorrow, Monday, 31st , Emily moves on to RSPB Strumpshaw Fen. She will be there from 11.00 a.m. to midday. So why not visit the reserve and say hello to Manchester Councillor Andrew Simcock and the Emily Williamson statue design?
At midday Andrew resumes his 400 mile cycle ride. Half the money he raises will go towards vital conservation efforts at the eight RSPB reserves he is visiting on the ride. The other half will go towards funding a permanent statue to the female founder of the UK’s largest nature conservation charity.
To donate to the fundraising campaign please visit Andrew's fundraising page.
Andrew then heads for RSPB Titchwell arriving on Tuesday morning (1st August).
Andrew on a training run in Bollington, Cheshire
The Emily Williamson statue will be placed in Fletcher Moss Park, Didsbury, Manchester, where Emily lived when she founded the RSPB in 1889.
Cycling 400 miles and visiting eight RSPB nature reserves across six counties Andrew is aiming to raise £5,000.
Andrew’s RSPB Eastern 400 ride takes him to eight RSPB reserves in the six counties of Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Lincolnshire, beginning 23 July and finishing Wednesday 2 August, He is aiming to raise £5,000 towards the fundraising goal of £100,000 and half of the funds raised with be shared among the RSPB reserves he is visiting.
Eve Shepherd with her winning design
In December 2020 a competition was launched by author and journalist Tessa Boase and Andrew, in partnership with the RSPB, to design a statue of Emily Williamson (1855-1936). The four shortlisted designs were unveiled on the centenary of The Plumage Act (1 July 2021), the RSPB’s first legislation triumph and the result of Emily’s long campaign.
Brighton based sculptor Eve Shepherd’s winning design was then made available as 20 limited edition 40 cm high bronze maquettes which are also for sale as part of the fundraising efforts for the life-sized sculpture of Emily.
To find out more please go to www.emilywilliamsonstatue.com