‘You’ve been flamingoed!”
- Credit: Portishead Lions Club
Plastic flamingos have been spotted across Portishead to help lift people's spirits during the pandemic.
Residents have woken up to a flock of 30 of the feathery creatures in their gardens to celebrate birthdays, wedding anniversaries and just because, all in the name of charity.
Portishead Lions Club UK was inspired to launch the initiative this month by another branch of the non-profit organisation in Bexhill, which started ‘flamingoing’ homes in the first lockdown.
The Portishead organisation has been an integral part of the community for 50 years and is part of Lions Club International, which has 1.3million members in more than 200 countries around the world.
The Portishead fundraiser is collecting money for local causes and activities in the town, as well as to support the work of Lions international.
Portishead Lions vice-president, Linda Warren, said: “We launched the initiative on June 12 and we have back-to-back bookings for the next couple of weeks.
“People like it because it’s fun, we’ve all had such a miserable year and it’s a lovely way to cheer people up. Residents are booking the flamingos for birthdays, wedding anniversaries and more, and we even made it to TV after we surprised an 11-year-old girl on her birthday who had to stay in self-isolation on Thursday.”
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Portishead Lions charges £30 for hire with all proceeds going to good causes. The plastic birds are mainly put up by Linda and Portishead Lions treasurer Paul Bridgen on the morning of a booking, where the flamingos are placed in a garden and remain for the rest of the day.
Linda says it's ‘early days yet’ and the club has ‘covered our costs already; we’re in profit’, with money raised now given to charitable causes in the area.
She added: “We plan on carrying on, there’s no plan on stopping. We’ve had to turn down some bookings because the flamingos are double-booked.
“We raise money for all sorts of local causes, including contributions to the local food bank, to local families through the council, as well as local charities and communities, and a small portion to Lions International, which our club is part of.”
The first flock of flamingos surprised residents at Norewood Lodge Care Home in town on June 16. On Saturday, Portishead resident Nick White woke up to a flock of 30 flamingos in his garden in celebration of his 61st birthday.
Nick said: “My wife organised it for me for my birthday after she saw the story in the media.
“I came downstairs in the morning, opened the patio curtains, and there they were on the lawn. It was a complete surprise – I didn’t know a thing.
“It’s a very good idea for charity and a lovely birthday surprise.”