Stobhill oystercatchers national award nomination

Monday August 31st 2020


Two of the Stobhill Primary School's knitted Oystercatchers.

Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Stobhill Primary school is in the running for national art competition and exhibition to provide a vital record of Covid-19 lockdown for generations to come, after some of the school staff, alongside their family and friends, knitted 250 Oystercatchers to reassure each and every pupil about returning to school after lockdown.

Parents were so touched by the incredible efforts of the staff and the great consideration for their children pupils at Stobhill Primary School in Gorebridge, that they submitted it as an entry for the competition to win a chance to feature in a new Reflections of Scotland exhibit in the new purpose-built Great Tapestry of Scotland gallery and exhibition centre when it opens in nearby Galashiels in the Scottish Borders in 2021. The competition deadline has been extended to 14 September to allow more schools and pupils to submit entries.

The Stobhill Oystercatchers were presented to all pupils on their first day back at school. They were each accompanied by a note telling the true story of a family of oystercatchers, which have an amber conservation status, who feel safe to return to the school site every year under the watchful and caring eye of school staff and pupils.

Headteacher at Stobhill Primary School, Mrs Sikes explained:

“We are a very close family here at Stobhill Primary School. We decided as a team that we wanted to do something really special for each of our pupils, to reassure and comfort them on their return after such a long time away.

“We remembered the oystercatchers who return every year. They are part of our Stobhill family too. All the children and young people at our school have grown very fond of them, taking great care to learn about them and protect them so they can live happily alongside us. We realised that this was the perfect way to reinforce how much we care about our pupils and reassure them that Stobhill Primary is a safe place to live, learn and grow together.

“Our team and their families have done an incredible job of creating such beautiful knitted oystercatchers. We are delighted to hear that they were so well received by parents and pupils, and incredibly honoured to be nominated for The Great Tapestry of Scotland Reflections of Scotland art competition.”

One of the Stobhill Parents, mum of two, Catriona Henderson said:

“A huge amount of thought and effort went into making oystercatchers for each of the children, and the link to the school and the importance of knowing you are safe was beautifully explained. It is a great reflection of how much care went into planning for the return to school and looking after each individual pupil.”

Some of the most inspiring entries to the Reflections of Scotland competition will feature in the opening exhibit, alongside other iconic displays, at the new purpose-built Great Tapestry of Scotland gallery and exhibition centre, the latest addition to country’s globally acclaimed cultural and heritage scene.

Speaking about the competition, Great Tapestry of Scotland Centre Director Sandy Maxwell-Forbes said:

“The Covid-19 lockdown has been one of the greatest periods of reflection in living history. People have been capturing their reflections and feelings beautifully at this time, and the Stobhill Oystercatchers are a fantastic example of this.

“While no one can experience Scotland’s wonderful visitor attractions and events in person at this time, our Reflections of Scotland art competition is designed to encourage people to positively embrace this time and their artistic reflections of our nation, so that we can record the thoughts of this important period in living history and continue the wonderful people’s story of Scotland so beautifully told by the Tapestry.

“We would love to see what other artwork people, children and schools across Scotland have been working on at this time to capture the mood of the nation and that great community spirit that helped so many of us through the toughest moments.”

Winners of the art competition will be selected by the globally-acclaimed and much loved author Alexander McCall Smith. He said:

“I am very much looking forward to judging this exciting art competition. The Great Tapestry of Scotland has done so much to inspire artistic endeavour, and I am sure that here we will all see its positive influence once again.”

Welcoming the competition, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Culture Fiona Hyslop said:

“The initiative will allow everyone from school pupils to professional artists to reflect on their experiences at this unprecedented time and the resulting exhibition of some of the best entries will serve as a permanent record for future generations to help them understand the impact of COVID-19 on Scottish society.

“It is fitting that the exhibition next year will coincide with the opening of the new Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor experience in Galashiels, which the Scottish Government and Scottish Borders Council has supported with funding of over £6 million as part of a wider economic and social regeneration across the South of Scotland.”

The Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor experience, which has received over £6.7 million funding from the Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, the Borders Railway Blueprint programme and Scottish Borders Council, will open in Galashiels in the Scottish Borders, one of the UK’s leading textile regions, in 2021.

The centre and exhibition space has been purpose built to house one of the world’s largest tapestries and community arts projects – The Great Tapestry of Scotland. The cultural venture is operated by the charity Live Borders, which also manages many of the cultural and leisure facilities in the Borders, including the five star Jim Clark Motorsport Museum.

The vision of one of the world’s most prolific and best-loved authors Alexander McCall Smith, designed by historian Alistair Moffat and artist Andrew Crummy, the Great Tapestry of Scotland tells the inspirational true story of the country’s history, heritage and culture (from 8500 BC to present day). It was hand stitched by over 1000 people in communities across Scotland and transported by land, sea and air to come together. It is made up of 160 panels and 300 miles of wool, enough to lay the entire length of Scotland from the Border with England to the tip of the Shetland in the North Atlantic.

For more information about the new visitor attraction and how to enter the competition visit or follow @GreatTapestrySc on Facebook or @GreatTapestrySc on Twitter, and @GreatTapestryScotland on Instagram.

Tweet Share on Facebook
Support Midlothian View from as little as £1. It only takes a minute. Thank you

Comments are closed.


Midlothian View Advertising