Thursday, 7 November 2013

Gromit's Grand Days Out...

If you were in Bristol this summer you might just have noticed - in fact, it would have been hard for you to miss- a certain lovable canine, decked out in an array of dazzling designs, popping up everywhere.

The decorative fibreglass Gromits that suddenly appeared in our midst were part of a very special fundraising initiative: The Gromit Unleashed Arts Trail, which aimed to raise money for the Bristol Children's Hospital and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit's Grand Appeal

The sculptures- eighty in total- were in situ from July 1st to September 8th, and designed by a plethora of artists, designers and celebrities: Cath Kidston; Simon Tofield; Aardman Animations' Nick Park, Sir Quentin Blake, Celia Birtwell, and Joanna Lumley to name but a (very) few.

I didn't manage to spot all of the Gromits, sadly, but I was able to track the following down...

"Hero" - Designed by Tom Deams

"Golden Gromit" - Designed by Julie Vernon

"Doodles" - Designed by Simon Tofield.
"Gromit Lightyear"- Designed by Pixar.
"Antique Rose"- Designed by Cath Kidston.
"Dog Rose"- Designed by Ros Franklin.

"Malago"- Designed by Dan Collins.

"Lancelot"- Designed by Sir Paul Smith.

"Grosmos"- Designed by Cheba.

     All photos © Jenna Churchley-Burton

Each one was an absolute work of art (literally...), but my personal favourites were Golden Gromit, Doodles and Antique Rose. 

I only wish I could have found them all- I'd really hoped to see Sir Nick Park's and Axel Scheffler's, but it was still immense fun spotting the ones I did. You could always tell when a Gromit was nearby - the crowds (and cameras) were a bit of a giveaway!

For me, the thrill of the trail was not just in spotting a Gromit, it was also seeing the delight on people's faces when they clocked one; young and old alike were equally enthralled by the colourful canine visitors, and in these jaded and cynical times it was really quite uplifting to witness.

After ten weeks' brightening up the city, it was time for the Gromits to be sent away for a bit of grooming, before being auctioned off on the 3rd of October.

The auction raised a staggering £2.3 million for The Grand Appeal. Gromit Lightyear alone sold for a whopping £65 million, with Nick Park's Newshound going under the hammer for an equally impressive £50 million.

In addition to raising an astronomical amount for a very worthy cause, Gromit Unleashed also boosted Bristol's economy by a staggering £77 million.

I think that's what you call a cracking success...

If you'd like to donate to The Grand Appeal, you can do so here.

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