A PROUD dad has immortalised his sports star sons by creating two 15ft-high statues – made from hay bales.
Billy Fotheringham made the giant canoes and canoeists next to one of Scotland’s busiest roads after his boys were selected to represent the UK.
The 45-year-old used different blue, pink and grey plastic on the hay bales to create the canoes before adding wooden paddles and Union Jacks.
The statues were created right next to the A9 as it passes Bankhead Farm, near Perth, and will be seen by thousands of people every week.
Sandy, 18, and Wills, 16, were selected to represent GB in wild water canoe racing, taking part in the under-23 category at international championships in Austria this July.
Billy said the statues are intended to help raise money for the boys, who spend more than £1,000 each getting their canoes to international events.
Billy said: “The structures are about four and a half metres tall, and they are made from silage bales.
“I’m a self employed farmer, and I basically just used different coloured covers on the bales to make them look like they do.
“I don’t know exactly how I came up with the idea but I was just really proud of the boys’ records, and I wanted to give them something back for all that effort.
“They’re training on Boxing Day, even when the pond is frozen and they have to smash it with their paddles, so this is me saying well done.
“I’m also hoping that people will see them, it’ll cheer them up, and make them wonder what they are.”
He added: “The project took about 3 or 4 nights, and I have got a few more plans to change them now.
“I’ll put some sunglasses on them when it’s really sunny, and at halloween, maybe I’ll do something a bit different.
“Also, I’m going to put the names of the boys’ current sponsors on them. It costs £1,000-1,500 to get to races, to pay for accomodation and travel with the boats etc and they are also looking to buy a spare boat. The support from sponsors is really valuable.
“We’re also hoping maybe the profile of the sport will be raised and we’ll get more sponsors.”
Sandy, 18, who studies at Hartpury agricultural college in Gloucestershire, said his dad’s efforts were kept under wraps, and he only found out about the giant canoeists after being told by friends.
“I had already started college down in England when they were finished” he said.
“I knew my Dad was planning something, but he was very secretive. I only got to see them when my friends started sending pictures. They’re pretty amazing, it’s a great effort by him.”
“The main thing is it gets a lot of attention for the sport, with so many people on the road seeing it. Wild water racing is not an olympic sport so it’s not as well known as events like the slalom, but it’s what I want to keep doing.
“I finalled in the Under 23 Pre-World Championships in Austria this year. The main event is next year. I’m hoping I can medal there.”