An art installation made out of hay bales is raising cash for a north-east sensory charity.
Jenna Ross, who has previously put up a number of colourful displays in Tarland, set up the “ambitious” display in the run-up to Tour of Britain.
The 36-year-old, from Craskins Farm, said she wanted to make her brother Duncan, who is registered blind, feel part of the cycling experience, while raising funds for North East Sensory Services (Ness), the charity that has supported him for years.
Meanwhile, viewers of Tour of Britain were also able to admire the display from the comfort of their homes as it was beamed on TV screens around the worlds as the cyclists completed the final stretch of the race.
She said: “The whole drive to do the bale art for the cycle race this time was my younger brother.
“He hasn’t been able to get on his bike during the pandemic due to the social distancing issues, because he would usually have a person, who we call a pilot, to help him.
“So we thought we will do this instead and be part of the whole cycling experience with Tour of Britain.
“He was introduced to cycling all through Ness, when they had an open day with all sorts of different ability bikes, and he has been into it ever since.
“For him, it’s getting the air through your face, being on the bike and having that independence, and being out and about and seeing the countryside.
“Although he can’t see it, the feel, the smell – all of these other senses are engaged when you are on a bike and he absolutely loves it.”
World-wide fame for ‘the most inventive Tour of Britain bale display in decades’
Miss Ross has recently become quite the star in the local community with a number of bale art activities, which she took up in lockdown last year.
The first of many to come was a Nurse Baley in honour of her mum Alison and all the other healthcare workers during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic
Such was the interest with locals, she decided to create more for the local kids to mark different holidays – including a witch and spider at Halloween, a Santa at Christmas and a haggis for Burns Night.
However, she said her most recent one, built specially for Tour of Britain, was the most “ambitious” one, yet also the best one.
The quirky exhibition, which shows cyclists mounted on hay bales near the Queen’s View beauty spot, was even remarked upon by commentators during the race as “the most inventive one” they’ve seen in decades.
It is estimated the display has been viewed by 39 million people worldwide on TV.
Miss Ross added: “It was such a great day and the positive buzz is still active.
“None of us have ever been involved in such an event and it was just brilliant.
“It was such a great community spirit – so many people randomly showed up in the field where we had the bale art.
“They also had the helicopter in place to get footage of the cyclists and our bale appeared right across the screen. The commentator said that it was the best and most creative bale art they’ve seen in decades.”
Using creativity for a good cause
The display is expected to stay for at least another three weeks for everybody, who would like to see the colourful bale cyclists and donate to Miss Ross’ JustGiving Page.
Lynn Batham, community fundraising co-ordinator with Ness, said: “People across the north-east are always coming up with imaginative ways to raise money for Ness.
“They don’t get much more eye-catching and creative than this.
“These hay bales are seen by lots of people every day, and would have been enjoyed by millions watching the Tour of Britain from all over the world.
“We’re extremely grateful that Jenna has chosen to use her imaginative display to raise money for Ness.
“All money raised goes towards enabling us to help increase the independence experienced by blind and deaf people in the north-east of Scotland.
“It’s fantastic that something so impressive to look at is also raising money for such an important cause.”