Swanage artist’s moo selfies likely to head to Cowes

Swanage artist Lucy Tidbury has been chosen from hundreds of Britain’s top creatives to paint a design on a huge model of a lighthouse as part of a summer art trail through Southampton and the Isle of Wight.

Unsurprisingly, given Lucy’s trademark Moo Selfies, her work is most likely to end up on the streets of Cowes on the Isle of Wight from Saturday 13th July 2024, before being auctioned in September to raise money for Southampton Children’s Hospital.

Welcome to Lucy’s Farm, home of the famous Moo Selfies

Lucy Tidbury at her shop Lucy’s Farm in the heart of Swanage, where she designed her art trail lighthouse

Lucy delighted to have been chosen

The Light The South art trail, run by Wild In Art, features 40 eight foot tall lighthouses with designs by famous artists selected from a shortlist of 100 including international mural painter Molly Hawkins and Will Rosie, known around the world as Mr Mosaic.

It is Lucy’s first submission for an art trail – which have been held around the UK since 2011, featuring characters like Wallace and Gromit, the Gruffalo and Raymond Briggs’ Snowman – and she is delighted to have been chosen.

Red Funnel ferries has sponsored Lucy’s creation, and while final locations for any of the artworks on this summer’s trail have yet to be confirmed, her cow inspired lighthouse may very well end up where the ferries dock in Cowes.


Lucy Tidbury’s moo selfies are becoming increasingly famous

A mermaid’s tail trail in 2025

Lucy Tidbury said:

“It’s a family friendly art trail to encourage people to explore Southampton and the Isle of Wight and find the 40 huge lighthouses designed by artists and 40 tinier ones mostly painted by local schools.

“My mum signed me up for the competition to find winning design artists as she loves the Isle of Wight, but I didn’t expect to be chosen out of 200 entries and now I really have the bug for this!

“There’s a similar trail of mermaid tails next year in Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch to raise funds for Julia’s House and I would love to have a go at that if I am still in time to submit an entry – though I don’t quite know yet how one of my cows would tie in with a mermaid theme!

“At the end of the Light The South trail, all the lighthouses on display will be auctioned off to raise money for Southampton Children’s Hospital, which is a fantastic cause.”


In the workshop, Lucy’s lighthouse begins to come together

Public art to captivate the senses

A spokesperson for Light The South said:

“Over the summer of 2024, Southampton Hospitals Charity will be lighting up the South with a large-scale public art event to captivate the senses and ignite the imagination.

“There will be 40 magnificent lighthouse sculptures on display through the streets and public spaces of Southampton and Cowes, each one a unique masterpiece designed by artists both local and well renowned.

“Another 40 mini lighthouses designed by local education groups will be added to the mix, creating a family-friendly trail of discovery for visitors and residents to enjoy and explore.

“The lighthouses will then be displayed together for a farewell event in September 2024 which will be a chance to see all lighthouses gathered in one place. The sculptures will then go into auction to raise vital funds for Southampton Children’s Hospital.”

Plain fibreglass lighthouses were sent out to the chosen designers in March 2024. It took Lucy a couple of months to complete her work and the finished sculpture has now gone back to Southampton ahead of being installed on the trail in two months’ time.


The first two completed lighthouses arrive at Southampton General Hospital


Many hours of painstaking work have gone into Lucy’s design

“I’ve had a lot of help from Swanage”

Lucy Tidbury said:

“They advised that the lighthouses were painted in acrylics, but I only paint in oils and decided to rebel against their advice.

“It was only when I finished that I discovered that the varnish you have to apply to protect the artwork from the great British summer reacted with oil paints!

“Fortunately a local paint effects specialist, Paul, was able to find a way to protect the art before varnish was applied to it, while my friend Clive loaned me a unit to store the lighthouse in while I was working on it.

“I’ve had a lot of help from Swanage and hope that locals will be able to go and see it on the trail.”


Lucy’s cow is joined by a friend as the lighthouse takes shape

Playful pup Gromit – here in disguise as a character from Monsters Inc – began the craze for character art trails

Character trails led by Gromit

Character art trails shot to prominence in the UK when Bristol Children’s Hospital joined with Aardman Animation to install painted statues of Gromit through the city in 2013, and have since raised more than £5,000 for vital funds.

Wild In Art has since become an umbrella organisation arranging art trails in towns and cities across the UK and further afield to raise funds for charity.

As well as the lighthouse trail, they are currently running Paws of the Wharf at Canary Wharf to raise money for Guide Dogs, Shaun the Sheep at Tatton Park in Cheshire to fundraise for the National Trust and Coraline’s Curious Cat Trail to fund a children’s hospital in Portland in Oregon.

Southampton General Hospital is the closest regional hospital to Swanage which specialises in acute children’s care. In April 2024, Alice and Rob Cattle completed a charity walk from Swanage to Southampton to raise £2,300 after the hospital saved the life of their baby daughter.

Little Isla is now a toddler, up on her feet and learning to walk, after heart surgery to repair two holes in her heart when she was just four months old.


Alice and Rob Cattle completed a sponsored walk to Southampton after their daughter was saved by the hospital’s heart surgeons

Fund raising for the children’s hospital

Alice Cattle said:

“We raised money for the Ronald McDonald House which looked after us for almost a week during Isla’s stay in hospital and meant that we could stay at her side when she needed us the most.

“It relies purely on donations to provide a home away from home for families in need of somewhere to stay when their child is in hospital, often a long way from their own community.

“But we also want to raise money for the Ocean Ward at Southampton which looked after Isla, and the paediatric department, so this was just step one, we can’t do it all at once.”


Some of the lighthouses from an earlier trail in Scotland, Light The North

Further information

Watch the Wild In Art dream

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