Brentwood, Essex, 17 April, 2012 – A Ford Transit is set to become a regular sight cruising around Somerset this summer, ferrying a flock of giant swan sculptures in and around the city of Wells as a boost for tourism and charity.
The “Swans of Wells 2012” public art initiative, in celebration of the Queen’s diamond jubilee, will see the 5ft tall swans, each individually decorated by local artists, sited around Wells between the end of May and September. Each of the 60 swans will be sponsored by local businesses.
The Ford Transit, loaned by Allen Ford, is a long wheelbase, high roof model which means it has more than enough room for four swan sculptures at a time. The logistics of tending to the swans are highly complex, says event organiser Megan Witty, who is delighted that Allen Ford of Bath has come to the rescue with the loan of a Transit.
“All the swans have to be delivered to the individual artists, then collected and distributed around the city, and moved here, there and everywhere during the summer,” she said. “We were desperate for a suitably sized van and so very grateful that Allen Ford has been able to help.”
Allen Ford business manager Gary Milkins said the Bath dealer was happy to assist: “We loaned a Transit when Megan staged a similar event two years ago – the Lions of Bath – and it was a roaring success, attracting tourists to the city and raising money for local charities. It is great to be able to help once again.”
On 22 May the swans will make their first public appearance in Wells, along the route the Olympic torch will take through the city. They will then go on general display at sites across Wells from 28 May before being auctioned for charity on 29 September. The similar Lions of Bath 2010 event raised £65,000 for good causes.
Swans of Wells 2012 takes its inspiration from the real life resident swans which have been synonymous with Wells for centuries; they are famous for ringing a bell by the drawbridge of the city’s 13th century Bishop’s Palace to ask for food.