WWF UK Blog  

Busking for the Polar Bear

 

Last summer Callum Morton, a student at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, studying MSus classical Mandolin, got in touch with the WWF Scotland team to let us know he was planning on raising funds for WWF by busking during the Edinburgh Festival.

We were interested to find out what inspired Callum to brave Edinburgh’s climate for a full three weeks, so we invited him into the office and were delighted to learn our work on polar bears is what inspired him to get his mandolin out for WWF!

Polar bear walking on ice © WWF-US / Elisabeth KrugerPolar bear walking on ice © WWF-US / Elisabeth Kruger

As today is International Polar Bear Day – we decided to share his story with you.  Enjoy this short Q & A:

So Callum, how did you first hear about WWF?

When I first researched how to support polar bear conservation. It was years ago but I remember discovering the WWF and liking the “Team panda” work. And of course, the logo was instantly recognisable too.

What inspired you to support our polar bear conservation, and to fundraise for it?

Subtle things in my life like my uncle giving me a polar bear stuffed toy when I was born. Growing up watching TV in the 90’s meant I watched all of the ‘Coca-Cola’ adverts with the polar bears drinking coke at Christmas. I think this lead me to believe that if polar bears were endangered then so was Christmas. And in turn that meant my presents were endangered too!

What are one or two lasting memories from your busking experience?

Meeting lots of kind individuals who also support WWF. They’d tell me about their adopted animals and we would chat about conservation and music. I believe because I was putting myself out there, they knew I was open to listen to their stories – it was really great!

There was one particularly miserable day where a girl was singing solo up on a Fringe stage. At this point it was bucketing down, but four Fringe buskers brought some umbrellas up onto the stage and held them up over the girl so she could keep singing. It was crazy fun to watch because they all joined in and had a great time!

Callum busking for WWF during Edinburgh Festival © Callum MortonCallum busking for WWF during Edinburgh Festival © Callum Morton

Who are the musicians that inspired you to get into music?

My biggest musical influences are Chris Thile and Leonard Bernstein.

Following university, what would be the dream for your music career?

A dream music career would be to play concerts and gigs featuring original and arranged covers of music I love. The dream would be to play those concerts and have the money go towards the WWF and polar bear conservation.

Is there anyone you want to thank or acknowledge for supporting or encouraging you?

My grandmother, for her unconditional support and contributions into the amplification gear. Also for helping sort out transport and parasols for the rainy days.

My best friend Mark Reid and the Reid family for allowing me to live and eat all their food for the month of August while I was fund-raising.

My friends and family for coming up to see me and helping me gather crowds by waving the banners, shouting loud and proud, and even wearing the polar bear suit too.

The support from WWF Scotland; every time I visited the headquarters I felt proud to be raising money for you guys. It was a pleasure. Thanks for making sure the money raised goes directly to the polar bear conservation in Svalbard.

It was an amazing three weeks. And I would love to do something like this again in the future.

WWF Panda thanking Callum for his busking efforts © WWFWWF Panda thanking Callum for his busking efforts © WWF

You can follow Callum’s ongoing story here:

Links on Svalbard – @ Facebook – Svalbard Support

JustGiving – www.JustGiving.com/SvalbardSupport

Instagram –  Callum_m_

Facebook – Callum Morton

Did you enjoy Callum’s story?  Let us know!

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