The Puffins Galore! sculpture trail project has drawn to a close with Hornsea Inshore Rescue receiving an equal share of the proceeds totalling more than £25,000.
The independent lifeboat charity, along with the RSPB, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and RNLI, received a cheque for £26,520 from the directors of Puffins Galore! at the lifeboat station on Monday, June 5.
Rick Welton and Clare Huby presented the cheques following 18 months of engaging with organisations to sponsor artists to decorate the giant puffins. They also gathered public support as more than 250,000 people travelled from around Yorkshire and the wider UK to complete the trail which spanned the East Yorkshire coast and further inland.
To raise the funds, 14 puffins went to auction on Saturday, May 13, while the others were purchased by their sponsors.
Clare said: “We are thrilled to have raised this amount of money. The project was subject to delays and issues beyond our control, but we overcame these challenges. We’ve seen so much support from the public and all the people who’ve been involved – sponsors, artists and the fabulous Puffins Pals who dedicated time every week to check the puffins for any signs of damage. Finally, being able to hand the funds over makes it all worthwhile.”
Hornsea Inshore Rescue will use its £26,520 to fund its independent lifesaving operations off the town’s coast.
Station manager Sue Hickson-Marsay said: “The funds will go towards two new four-stroke engines. This makes a significant difference to our finances – to have been part of this project has also brought us some wonderful publicity and the opportunity to meet some amazing, interesting members of the public from all walks of life.
“As we are an independent lifeboat it’s not always easy raising funds. Anyone in a lifesaving situation at sea will benefit. Schools, colleges and organisations will also benefit when they visit us for educational talks and sea safety talks.
“We have saved hundreds of lives over the last 30 years and this funding will ensure we can continue saving lives at sea.
Rachel Bice, chief executive of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: “We are incredibly grateful for the donations from Puffins Galore! Yorkshire Wildlife Trust cares for over 100 nature reserves stretching to every corner of Yorkshire.
“On the coast we have a series of important reserves that provide vital spaces for seabirds, at Spurn, Filey and Flamborough, which is where our lovable puffins can create their burrows ready to raise pufflings.
“We are also undertaking a marine programme to restore oysters and sea grass which will restore the important natural systems upon which our seabirds depend. Our Living Seas Centre at South Landing provides educational experiences for children and adults about the coastal and marine environment. This donation will support a range of activities to support our coastal wildlife and help bring the wonders of the sea to young minds and hearts.”
Although the official project has come to an end, some of the puffins can still be spotted around the area. Hornsea Inshore Rescue has been gifted a puffin, while Withernsea’s Can He Knit? Yes He Gansey!, has returned to its former home on Memorial Gardens.
Other puffins have also been spotted around the area including Patrington Primary School and Withernsea Lighthouse.