Shells on Tresco Island in the Isles of Scilly, all carefully hand-painted by islanders, have raised £10,000 for local causes and charities.
The staggering amount, generated from sales of the beautifully decorated shells, has been raised in less than two years.
Tresco resident, Maralyn Hobbs, started the winning fundraising idea when her youngest daughter had chickenpox in 2013. After distracting her daughter with the shell-painting activity they first sold their handy work to neighbours on the island to help raise funds for new play park equipment.
Spurred on by a successful start Maralyn and fellow Tresco islanders painted more shells and arranged them in a trail on the quayside at New Grimsby harbour. Visitors were encouraged to pick a shell and replace it with loose change. Within weeks the fund pot kept rising and the ‘shell trail’ moved on to support a number of causes and charities including Macmillan, Precious Lives and Cancer Research.
‘We have been overwhelmed by the response to the idea which simply started as something to pass the time,’ says Maralyn. ‘It has certainly all been worthwhile and its success is a testament to the great community we have here on Tresco – we’re so pleased to have raised so much money.
‘Island visitors have enjoyed taking home a unique memento from their stay on Tresco. It’s lovely for visitors to know that they have not only taken home a special little piece of our beautiful island as a souvenir from their stay but have also helped to raise vital funds for good causes in the process.’
Over the past two years the shell designs have evolved to include angels, roses and mice. The shell trail is now back on the quay for all to continue to enjoy throughout 2015.