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28th Jun, 2022

'Who you gotta call?' - Stratford's swan hero inspires Ghostbuster style merchandise

Catherine Thompson 1st Feb, 2021 Updated: 1st Feb, 2021

SWAN rescuer Cyril Bennis has inspired a collection of Ghostbuster style t-shirts and merchandise.

Designer Martin Taylor has created a logo reading ‘Who you gotta call?’ above a picture of a swan with plastic around its neck, with the name Cyril Bennis below.

The image is printed on a choice of t-shirts, hoodies, phone cases and mugs. The funds made from sales will be donated to the Startford Swan Rescue operated by Mr Bennis.

The former Stratford mayor is first on the scene when it comes to injured, sick or AWOL swans.

Mr Bennis, who was not aware of Martin’s design plans, said the Facebook post advertising the merchandise which gained thousands of likes, was a big surprise.

He said: “I just thought ‘oh my word’. It was a total surprise. I’m rather flattered and bemused. It’s not every day you get your own merchandise. It’s very kind and thoughtful of him to put a message out there, and if it can raise money for the upkeep of our animals then it’s absolutely brilliant.”

Martin said he wanted to show his and other residents’ appreciation for Cyril’s commitment to the town’s swans.

He told the Observer: “It is not difficult to be inspired by people like Cyril Bennis, who is prepared to go out in all weathers, day and night, to care for our beautiful bird life.

“My artistic muse beckoned me to create something which would express the widely held appreciation of what Cyril does for Stratford.

“I hoped to convey a serious message in a humorous way, by creating a parody of the Ghostbusters’ movie logo and tagline.

“It seems to have struck a chord with members of the Stratford Forum on Facebook, garnering over a thousand likes. I put that down more to the esteem that Cyril is held in, rather than my own efforts.

“Some of the respondents on the forum suggested that I should use the logo for fundraising merchandise, so I set about doing just that. It was surprisingly easy to set up and a couple of days later the website went live to accept orders. All of the profits will be donated to Stratford Swan Rescue.”

Mr Bennis was responsible for drastically increasing the town’s swan population in the 80s, after lead poisoning from weights left by anglers and a shortage of food decimated the population.

With help, Cyril set up a swan reserve at the back of the Hilton Hotel, now the Crowne Plaza, where resident swans Tom and Roxanne, named after the hotel manager and Cyril’s wife, set up home. The pair were finally able to produce several broods of cygnets and ultimately the swan population increased.

Cyril has continued his work to help the swans, feeding them, educating townspeople, and visiting schools where he encourages children to check the swans are well when passing the river.

Visit giganite.com to browse Martin’s collection.

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