Hercules the bear to get own statue

Hercules with Russell Grant, at an event in Edinburgh and with owner Andy Robin

Hercules with Russell Grant, at an event in Edinburgh and with owner Andy Robin

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If you go down to the woods in Uist, you are in for a big surprise.

The escape of Hercules – the world-famous grizzly bear who roamed the islands for almost a month 33 years ago – is being immortalised with a statue.

Langass Woodland Trust in North Uist commissioned a statue of Hercules, who escaped in the islands in 1980 and spent 24 days on the run.

Hercules, owned by Andy and Maggie Robin, was starring in an Andrex advert being filmed on Benbecula when he disappeared.

He was later spotted swimming off North Uist and was rescued and returned to his delighted owners. The story brought international attention to the islands and this project by the local Trust will tell the story to a new generation.

Following his high profile escape, Hercules went on to star in the Bond film ‘Octopussy’ and had many other TV roles. He graced the cover of Time magazine and even met ex-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and ex-US President Ronald Reagan.

Hercules eventually died of old age in 2000.

The statue in Langass Woods is to be the unveiled during an official opening.

Langass is a community woodland managed by the trust.

Chairwoman Ada Campbell said: “It was a hugely memorable event for the people of North Uist, and we feel this is a good we to commemorate it.”

Since forming in 2005 the trust have actively begun to make improvements to Langass so that the woodland can be used as an educational and recreational resource by the local community and visitors to the island.

The trust aim to increase the biodiversity of the woodland by planting more species of native broadleaf trees which will attract more species birds, plants and insects to the woodland and make it a more interesting place to visit.

They have received funding for roads and pathways from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, LEADER and Awards for All.

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