Happy Shrove Tuesday!

Pancake Day Duck by Dinah Owen
Pancake Day Duck by Dinah Owen

Check out this amazing ‘Pancake Day Duck’ by one of our simply awesome knitters, Dinah Owen!

We hope you are all enjoying pancakes wherever you are in the world today.  Please keep the themed ducks coming, they make us smile so much here at Yellow Duck Towers!

Loving Gifts for Valentine’s Day

valentines.litrio.2

This Valentine’s Day we are asking everyone to do one simple loving act by choosing to save someone’s life. You could sign up to donate blood, stem cells (bone marrow) or organs/tissues or even all three. Or perhaps simply use this day to remember to tell your loved one that you’d like to donate to save lives when you are no longer here.

Our volunteers all over the world have been busy making Valentine-themed ducks ready for today.  These ducks will be going out into the communities where they live to be left for others to find.  They will brighten lives of today, and hopefully save lives of tomorrow.

Love Ducks by Dinah Owen
Love Ducks by Dinah Owen
Lisa Dickenson Brand Valentine Ducks
Valentine Ducks by Lisa Dickeson Brand
Ursula Hulme
Loving Ducks by Ursula Hulme
Jacqui Blonstein
Heart Duck by Jacqui Blonstein

Thank you to all who continue to make and distribute these ducks and to all our volunteers, supporters and blog-readers – we love you all!

Star of the Week – Ogres, Dogs and Ducks!

 

Star of the Week Icon

 

Our second ‘Star of the Week’ Award is another joint one – but this time it’s a rather different award as it goes to… a cuddly green ogre and a dog who live on opposite sides of the world!

Jeff enjoying a spot of knitting in his garden
Jeff enjoying a spot of knitting in his garden

Jeffy Green (a cute and cuddly toy ogre who runs Will Knit for Syrup) found out about the Little Yellow Duck Project last year and decided to knit some ducks to leave around the area he lives in the UK.  One of his Facebook friends – an Australian dog called Devo – saw photos of the ducks and asked Jeff if he could knit him some to take on his around-the-world trip later in the year.

Devo Maxwell - one seriously cool dog!
Devo Maxwell – one seriously cool globe-trotting dog!

Now Devo isn’t just an ordinary dog.  Oh no. Devo is an assistance dog with a love of travel who has now accompanied his Mum on her worldwide travels to multiple countries on planes, trains, trucks, cars, buses and ships, making friends all over the world as he goes. Not only this, but Devo is also a published author!

So Jeff made 16 ducks and off they went on to Australia to begin their adventure…

The ducks knitted by Jeff Green, ready for their global adventure!
The ducks knitted by Jeff Green, ready for their global adventure!

Incredibly, in just 8 weeks, Devo managed to get LYDP ducks into 6 different continents and a whole list of countries including Chile, Singapore, USA, Canada, Germany and a British Science Base in Antarctica! He even managed to leave a duck on both Easter Island and Christmas Island (well you couldn’t have one without the other could you?) and to achieve a quick stop-off in the UK for a visit to his good friend Jeff to thank him for all his knitting.

The two friends finally get to meet when Devo stops by on his round-the-world trip
The two friends finally get to meet when Devo stops by on his round-the-world trip

One ‘Jeff duck’ even managed to notch up a grand total of 87,000 km (55,000 miles) after returning to Australia to be placed back where he left off. Is this the most well travelled duck ever?!

Jeff Ducks
(Clockwise from left) Jeff Duck who travelled 87,000 km arrives back at Melbourne airport, Singapore, Port Lockroy British Science Base in Antarctica, Easter Island

A huge thank you to Jeff, Devo (and their Mums) who helped make this happen!  Enjoy being our Stars of the Week!

Stars of the Week 2015

Star of the Week Icon

New for 2015 – Star of the Week Award! This week’s award is a joint one awarded to Tina Thomas and Emma Pattullo.

Mr Men and Little Miss Ducks Ready for Release
Mr Men and Little Miss Ducks Ready for Release

Tina, from Deeside, has now made and distributed 150 ducks in Scotland (including the amazing Mr Men/Little Miss series! She has also been amazing at helping to raise awareness of the project through her local newspaper and by putting up posters for the project.

Emma and David Pattullo from Platform 22
Emma and David Pattullo from Platform 22


Emma found one of Tina’s ducks and pledged to give blood as a result. Having found that she is not able to donate herself, Emma has got 72 people to pledge to donate blood when a mobile unit visits her business, Platform 22, which she has also worked hard to arrange.

THANK YOU to Tina and Emma, as well as all of you who make this project happen and save lives!

It’s Not About the Money….

Money, what is it good for?

“It’s not about the money, money, money,
We don’t need your money, money, money,
We just wanna make the world dance,
Forget about the price tag”

So sang Jessie J at the closing ceremony for the 2012 Olympics. They are the same words that have been running through my head since I got a notification through yesterday evening that the Little Yellow Duck Project (LYDP) had hit the news headlines.

I was on the long journey back from London after my little boy’s hospital appointment and he had just fallen asleep in the car. My husband was driving and I finally had a chance to check up on my emails and text messages. I think it’s safe to say that the last thing I was expecting was to find that the LYDP was making news headlines around the world!

Read all about it

However as I read on, my excitement quickly turned into concern as I quickly realised that we seemed to be in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

“Thousands of rubber ducks stuffed with cash are sent around the world!

Mystery of Cash Giving Yellow Ducks Has been Solved!”

Hold on a minute….rubber ducks stuffed with cash? Mystery donors?  Was I actually reading about the Little Yellow Duck Project here?  Yes, I must be, I realised, because my photo of Clare – with the duck I gave her one Christmas – is smiling back at me in all the articles. And as I read on, I recognised more extracts from the website, this blog and quotes from articles that her wonderful Mum, Ann Rowcliffe, had given in the past were appearing. What was going on?

Photo from www.ducksonly.com
Photo from www.ducksonly.com

As I read on, the penny dropped.  A few weeks ago someone had shared a link on our Facebook group to a local newspaper article from Kent that was reporting on how various plastic bath ducks had been found in the area with a typed note and cash attached to them. No one knew who had left them but it had been suggested that there might be a link to the LYD Project at some point.

Photo from Kent and Sussex Courier
Duck found in Tonbridge with £50 note. Photo from Kent and Sussex Courier

When I had first seen that article I had wondered the same thing myself. There did seem to be similarities in that yellow ducks were involved along with random acts of kindness. But, unlike the LYDP ducks, these ducks were not handmade by volunteers, they did not carry our official tag and they made no mention of the real message behind our campaign – saving lives through blood and organ donation.  None of our supporters knew anything about a link and so I assumed that it was either a co-incidence or that someone had read about the LYDP and decided to do copy the idea to promote some seasonal goodwill.

trip

If you’ve ever wanted to see an example of how fast a less-than-accurate news story can circle the globe, this is it. Within hours the story went from a suggestion of a link in a local newspaper in Kent, to a confirmed “revelation” in a British national newspaper, then becoming a headline on one of the top USA news websites and newspaper websites around the world.

Having spent years working on projects to raise awareness-raising of organ donation and spent day after day sending out press releases and contacting journalists, I’m only too aware that money can’t buy this kind of media coverage. The value of worldwide publicity like this can not be overstated, and to have journalists choosing to promote your cause is just priceless.

Michelle Harper and Keely Tomlinson. Photo by J. Raynor, Nottingham Post.

However the part that saddens me about all this is that the real message about the LYD Project has been somewhat buried under a story about cash. For  months generous, kind-hearted people around the world have put hours into handcrafting little yellow ducks as gifts for strangers. They have given these gifts expecting nothing in return, other than to brighten someone’s day and to encourage more of us to save lives through blood and organ donation. They never usually know where their painstakingly crafted gifts end up or if they are appreciated. But they live in hope that they will have lifted someone’s spirits and saved a life or two in the process.

Members of Harbourside WI in Portiswood, UK. Photograph courtesy of North Somerset Times
Members of Harbourside WI in Portiswood, UK. Photograph courtesy of North Somerset Times

Yet none of this has ever hit the headlines. Nearly 2,500 handmade ducks have been reported from 56 countries around the world and we estimate that this represents just 25% of those that have actually been sent out into their world with their messages of love and hope.  And yet, as soon as money is involved, it’s a headline. As soon as a handful of crisp banknotes start appearing in random places, the story becomes exciting. Who will be next? Could it be you? Who is the person who is giving away money? Why would they DO that?

They say that all publicity is good publicity and this is undoubtedly true.  Despite the inaccuracies of the story, thankfully the true message is getting out thanks to people visiting our website and finding it out for themselves. I have been so touched by the messages of support and from those who have said they will now start crafting their own little life-saving ducks to spread the message to others.

The true story is indeed exciting and uplifting, but it’s not – and never will be – because of money. The LYD Project has never fundraised for money, it has never distributed money and it has never spent any money. It’s about the difference that we can each make in the world, whether that’s by lovingly making a gift of a duck for a stranger or giving the gift of life through blood or organ donation.

Sally-Anne Grainger and Wesley Joyce who offered her his kidney after he saw her donor plea in his local newspaper
Sally-Anne Grainger and Wesley Joyce who offered her his kidney after he saw her donor plea in his local newspaper

And it’s about something that money can never buy and which is greater than any amount of financial resources – it’s about hope. Right now hundreds of thousands of people around the world need blood and bone marrow transfusions and organ or tissue transplants. Without the gift of a stranger they will die. They live in hope that someone will give them the gift of life and a second chance…a gift that no money can buy.

Photo courtesy of NHSBT
Photo courtesy of NHSBT

Wishing you all a peaceful and restful Christmas,

Emma x

It’s Christmas!

Our wonderful crafting volunteers around the world have been extra busy creating some truly wonderful Christmas ducks to celebrate this magical season and to continue to spread the word about the importance of donating to save lives.  Thank you to each and every one of them and all our other volunteers who are helping us to cover the globe in these special yellow ducks!

Here are some of our favourites so far, please keep them coming and post the photos on our Facebook group.  Enjoy!

Suzy Compton
Festive ducks by Suzy Compton
Robin and Rudolph by Sheila Vaux
Robin and Rudolph by Sheila Vaux
Xmas Tree Duck by Lisa Dickenson
Xmas Tree Duck by Lisa Dickenson
Christmas Quackers, Rudolph, Santa and Tinsel by Christina Coulbecks
Christmas Quackers, Rudolph, Santa and Tinsel by Christina Coulbecks
A Pyramid of Xmas Ducks by Sheila Vaux
A Pyramid of Xmas Ducks by Sheila Vaux
A huddle of chilly ducks by Helen Foster
A Trio of Chilly Ducks by Helen Foster
Festiv Family Photo by Chiva Som
Festiv Family Photo by Chiva Som

This is what blood donors do….

Maisy after her birth (left) and now (right)
Maisy after her birth (left) and now (right)

Many of you will have seen the incredible story of little Maisy Vignes  on our website. Her story was chosen to illustrate the incredible impact that each and every blood donor can have and the reason why all of us should consider donating blood if we are eligible to.

Maisy, from Tramore in Ireland, was born in December 2009 without a single drop of blood in her body.  Until her birth, doctors had never known of any other baby to survive being born with a zero blood count. Thanks to the generosity of some incredible blood donors, Maisy’s life was saved that night and this month she has just started school.

Independent News and Media (INM) photo of Maisy Vignes
Photo courtesy of Independent News and Media

After recent coverage in a local newspaper, Maisy’s story has gone viral, reaching France, The Netherlands, Thailand, Sweden and Greece…all countries where little yellow ducks have also been reported! You can read some of the articles on Maisy herehere and here.

“What blood donors do is amazing” explains Emma. “Maisy is our world and we will be forever grateful to the people who donated their blood so that she could live”.

We wish Maisy lots of luck in her new start to school life!

 

Don’t Knit, Don’t Sew, What Do You Do?

Answer? You join right in with the Little Yellow Duck Project anyway!

That’s right folks, although we have amazing volunteers around the world clicking their knitting needles and revving up their sewing machines,  this is a project that anyone can join in with! We have small children taking part right through to knitters in their 90’s. And today we bring you a tutorial by the lovely Jo Griffith who has created these beauties with little more than glue, paper and glittery bits and pieces.

Check out the pattern HERE.

Jo Griffiths

Joannah Griffiths

This week we also got sent a photo of a duck that surely wins a prize for the most creative idea yet. The duck was created by using a lemon and Post-It Notes!

Do you know the child who made it and left it to be found by its delighted new owners in Lewes, UK? If so, we’d love to hear about it!

Lewes Lemon Duck 1 - permission from finder

Lewes Lemon Duck 2 - Permission from Finder

New World Map of Ducks

Hi, Rich here. I’m the guy behind the website – maintaining, developing, updating, etc. I wanted to give a preview of a new map I have set up before I integrate into the website later today.

It is a combined zoomable, clickable map as before but with a searchable, sortable list of all ducks found. You can switch between the two as you like. Click the blue “Filter” button to find any data from the list – why not have a play?

As I said, I’ll integrate it into the website today and then blog a few tips on how to use it. Please fell free to comment on this post if you like it or even if you don’t – but be nice!

The map can be found here.

6 Continents in 106 Days

Over the last few days, South Africa has joined the world map as little yellow ducks are launched far and wide across this beautiful country.

This news means that in 106 days we have managed to get ducks reported in all 6 inhabited continents in the world – Europe, Africa, North America, South America, Asia and Australia. It is now our mission to get a duck reported in Antarctica – watch this space!

6 continents

The Little Yellow Duck Project creates and distributes handcrafted gifts to raise global awareness of blood, bone marrow, organ and tissue donation.