Penguin Parade: P-p-p-picnic with a penguin

© DC ThomsonPost Thumbnail

Dundee’s Penguin Parade is getting us all a-flutter here in The Courier office. With the fantastic news that only 20 more penguins need to be sponsored we can’t wait to see a colony – or “waddle” – of 80 colourful giant penguins invading the city during 2018.

Designed by local artist Janice Aitken, the cool customers will be decorated by various artists before hitting the streets next summer. After their moment in the sun, they will be auctioned to raise funds for the vital work done at Maggie’s Dundee in caring for people affected by cancer.

As part of the research that went into designing her penguin sculpture, Janice, a senior lecturer at Duncan of Jordanstone College of art and Design, visited St Andrews Aquarium a few months ago to take photos of the Humboldt penguins


“I just went as a member of the public, taking my friend’s 11-year-old grandson Findlay with me,” Janice says. “We had a great time, and there were loads of activities for kids.

“We were lucky to have a really nice sunny day and I took lots of photos of the penguins feeding and playing to use as reference points for the sculpture.”

When Janice heard that St Andrews Aquarium has sponsored a penguin sculpture and had invited her over to get up close and personal with its real-life counterparts, she was thrilled to bits.

The visit took place yesterday when Janice and Annie Long, fundraising manager at Maggie’s Dundee, were allowed to enter the penguins’ enclosure and feed them.

“It was such a fun thing to do,” enthused Janice. “John and all the staff were so welcoming – you can tell they love the animals in their care.

“Four of the penguins came up to take fish from us while others were incubating eggs in their caves,” she continues.

“They’re so beautiful and graceful in water, and so fast but when they’re on dry land they’re a little bit comical and clumsy,” she laughs.

“The keepers explained they all have their own personalities and different ways of interacting but they were all very well behaved for us – no biting or anything!”

Janice revealed that one of the reasons John wanted the aquarium to sponsor a penguin was because the centre’s mission is to engage young people in the natural world and in the world around them. John told The Courier: “Maggie’s Centre is a fantastic charity that delivers an incredibly important service, and knowing that our colony of Humboldt penguins were the creative inspiration for the sculpture, it is only right that we should get involved.”

Sponsor a penguin before they’re all snapped up!

It costs £4,000 pounds to sponsor a penguin and businesses, groups, charities, educational establishments and individuals are invited to snap up the remaining 20 sculptures. To find out more contact Annie Long on 07825 056384 or email