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Former mayor surprised to get his own merchandise to help raise money for Stratford's swans

If there’s something strange, who you gunna call? Cyril Bennis that’s who, at least if you want to help Stratford’s swans.

Cyril Bennis with one of the new mugs in the merchanise range. Photo: Mark Williamson C7/2/21/1521. (44243908)
Cyril Bennis with one of the new mugs in the merchanise range. Photo: Mark Williamson C7/2/21/1521. (44243908)

Last week a range of merchandise, inspired by the film Ghostbusters, was launched to raise money for Stratford Swan Rescue, which cares for swans on the Avon.

The hoodies, t-shirts, phone cases and mugs all carry former mayor Cyril’s name and have been created by engineer Martin Taylor.

However it all came out of the blue for Cyril, who had no idea he’d made it onto a t-shirt until he saw it posted on social media.

Cyril is well known for helping the birds on the river and is usually the first port of call for residents who spot injured or distressed swans.

Giving his reaction to the new range, Cyril said: “It was a total surprise, the first I heard about it was when it went on social media, it’s very flattering, but most importantly it carries an important message.

“Martin wrote on social media that he hoped I wouldn’t mind that he’d done this and of course I didn’t! I don’t know Martin, but I’ve been in touch to say thank you. I think he just wanted to support the work we do to help the swans.

“The money raised will go towards the Stratford Swan Rescue’s Swan Management Fund, it pays for grain, vets fees and things like that.

“I’ve not bought my hoodie yet, I’m still getting over the shock, but it certainly brightened up my day.”

Martin, from Wilmcote, said: “Cyril’s name pops up all the time on the Stratford Facebook Forum whenever a swan needs help, he’s a bit of an avian superhero. I made this logo along the ghostbusters theme and put it on there and people really liked it, it shows the esteem Cyril is held in.

“Some of them suggested I should create some merchandise out of the logo, so that’s what I did.

“It’s a print on demand service I use, which I’ve linked to a Shopify account, and all the proceeds go towards Stratford Swan Rescue. I enjoy doing creative things like this and I know that there’s a lot of gratitude in Stratford for the work Cyril does.”

It’s been a tough year for the swans, with a number having died over recent months because of an outbreak of avian flu.

The clothing range along with mugs and phone cases carrying the new design, are available to buy at www.giganite.com

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