Sir David Attenborough gives backing to Penguin Parade...and HSD pupil's contribution to it!

Rebecca Hamilton's Blue Planet II-inspired statue design praised by legendary naturalist

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Sir David Attenborough has given his backing to Maggie’s Penguin Parade and, in particular, a High School of Dundee pupil’s contribution to it!

After pledging to sponsor one of the 80 giant penguin sculptures that will form the summer charity trail, the High School ran a design competition among pupils to decide what it will look like.

The winner, F2 pupil Rebecca Hamilton, was inspired by the TV series Blue Planet II, presented and narrated by Sir David.

So she wrote to the legendary naturalist to tell him all about her design and the Penguin Parade...and was both astounded and delighted when he sent a letter back!

It stated, “Dear Rebecca. I am very impressed by your penguin designs and delighted to hear that they were inspired by watching Blue Planet II. How fabulous that they were chosen for the sculptures and for such a worthy cause.

“Congratulations and thank you for writing to let me know. With best wishes, David Attenborough.”

Rebecca, who is a massive fan of Sir David’s nature programmes, said, “I was very excited to receive the letter as I didn’t expect a reply.

Penguin Parade painters

“I felt honoured as I know he’s very busy. It was very nice of him to take the time to read my letter and respond.”

Rebecca said that after watching Blue Planet II she wanted to raise awareness about plastic polluting the world’s oceans and she hopes her design will show the “good side and the bad side” of the sea.

“I hope people who come to see the High School penguin like the design but can also take away a deeper message,” she added.

Rebecca’s winning design is being painted on to the blank sculpture by F6 pupils Morven Wright, Joanna Brunton and Lily Bircham . After being given its make-over, the statue will then join 79 others on display on the streets of Dundee and beyond from June 29th in the Penguin Parade, a charity public art event that aims to raise enough money to fund the Maggie’s Centre Dundee for a year.

And the entire High School community is getting behind the campaign. In addition to the design contest, the School has also already staged a Bingo Night and held a Penguin Day in the Junior Years and Nursery, with more fundraising events to come.

The school’s Charities and Community Outreach Co-ordinator, Karlene Douglas, said, “Rebecca’s entry was chosen as the winning design for our penguin sculpture because it is both visually stunning and incorporates an important environmental message about our planet.

Children at the Nursery took part in the Penguin Challenge Day

“David Attenborough’s documentary series was a crucial inspiration to Rebecca’s design and so as a school we were delighted when he responded to Rebecca’s letter, congratulating her on winning the competition.

“We are proud to support the Maggie’s Penguin Parade and look forward to seeing our finished sculpture outside the school gates.”

It costs a staggering £2,400 a day to run Maggie’s Dundee, a centre which offers free practical, emotional and social support to those affected by cancer.

The centre received more than 12,000 visits in 2017 – around 50-70 people a day, and since 2016, there’s been an increase of 15% in visits from people newly diagnosed with cancer.

You can find out more about Maggie’s and Maggie’s Penguin Parade at: