What a hare-raising amount!

We are truly overwhelmed by the generosity and backing of our wonderful community, after the Grand Auction for our Hares raised more than £115,000! The incredible total, which included £22,000 paid for the golfing-themed ‘Hare Tae Golf’ sculpture, is enough for Leuchie to fund the equivalent of four specialist nurses for a calendar year.

With Covid severely impacting our ability to fundraise over the last 18 months this was a much needed boost for us and helps us to continue to provide holiday breaks for those people affected by neurological conditions such as MS, MND and stroke.

Those who were able to be with us on Friday heard from a regular guest to Leuchie, Graeme. His ethos and advice mirrors that which sits at the core of all that we do here: ‘Don’t think about what you can’t do, focus on what you can’.”

Stephen Pearson, chair of Leuchie House says 'We’re immensely proud of what the Big Hare Trail has achieved - for the artists who did such amazing designs, the businesses who sponsored them and the people of all ages from all over the world who enjoyed all of these beautiful works of art. It brought true joy at a very difficult time'.

The good news is that most of the beautiful Hares will be staying in East Lothian for the public to enjoy after several local campaigns resulted in winning bids! Hare tae Golf proved the hottest property at the auction, compered by BBC broadcaster Glenn Campbell and overseen by May Matthews of Bonhams. After a flurry of bids from the floor, the Renaissance Club won with a bid of £22,000, bringing the hare back to the course it graced during the Scottish Open. And, thanks to a collective of donors who pooled resources in support of Leuchie, two hares – 'Sky & Sea' and 'Molly Hare & Friends' were secured for us. One of them will take pride of place here at Leuchie, while the other will be located at Denis Duncan House, our new accessible holiday cottage near Dirleton.

Another successful community bid was Kirsty Herriot’s fundraising campaign to keep her daughter Abbie’s creation ‘Ocean View’ local. They won the big for £6,500. Kirsty, who now hopes to put the hare in North Berwick Trust’s Country Park, said: “What a nerve-wracking evening. Winning Abbie’s Hare was beyond my wildest dreams, but we did it. The big cheer at the end just resulted in me bursting into tears! Thank you to every single one of you who helped make this happen, you have no idea how happy you have made me.”

The bidder who won 'Wild Thing' confirmed the Hare would be staying in North Berwick and “will be able to see the sea”, while 'Over The Rainbow' will also be staying in East Lothian in the soon-to-open Papple Wood community and business hub at Papple Steading near Haddington. George Mackintosh of Papple Steading said: “The hare's location will be surrounded by bird boxes, rustic shelters and tables, boardwalks and pathways. It's wonderful at the same time to support a local charity with such a nationally important purpose.”

We couldn't have done all this without our wonderful artists - who went above and beyond for us, all our sponsors (below), North Berwick Library for being our merchandise collection hub, and of course YOU, the people at the heart of this wonderful community who visited the trail, tagged us on social media, shared your photos and donated generously.