Gromit Unleashed is a 10 week (1st July-8th Sept) long public art trail, of 5 foot high sculptures of Gromit. Aardman Animations have teamed up with local communities and businesses to help raise money for the Wallace and Gromit Grand Appeal, www.grandappeal.org.uk the charity for Bristol Children’s hospital. The appeal is raising 3.5 million to help support it to expand to incorporate burns, neurosurgery, neuroscience and major trauma, plus to provide pioneering, life-saving equipment, family accommodation and arts enhancements.
They have been designed and created by local artists and famous names such as Joanna Lumley OBE, Sir Quentin Blake, Harry Hill and Cath Kidston MBE to name but a few. There are 81 Gromits – with 80 listed and a surprise find at the Mall, Cribbs Causeway. They are spread throughout Bristol and further afield such as in Cheddar Gorge, with the original being found at London’s Paddington Station. Getting about couldn’t be easier with a family bus pass (up to 5 people) being able to hop on and off all day for only £8.
Apart from being a fab day out, this was a real chance to take the children to Bristol. This is where I met my husband, we got married, and our second son was born. He was only 1 when we moved to Wales so will not remember it. We had meant to go back to visit Bristol as part of our 10th Wedding Anniversary celebrations, but my husband got ill. The Gromits not only made this visit more interesting (and definitely more active as we did a LOT of walking), it gave us our first taste of geocaching (using the Global Positioning System, GPS – to find items hidden by someone else who has left the coordinates). I’ve been keen to do this, particularly as it is one of items on the National Trust’s 50 things list. This is through the Gromit Unleashed Detect –o- Grommit app for 69p, with 40p of that going straight to the charity. The app also has many other features such as an interactive map. If you’re not keen on all this new technology, never fear, you collect a paper version from any of the official passport stops – where you can also pick up a passport and get it stamped.
There are different trails including the Heritage Discovery Trail, the Harbourside Trail and the Central Stroll. The map has the approximate distance and duration of the trails. We visited on a Sunday and found free on-street parking, but there are plenty of multi-storey carparks around. At the Mall, Cribbs Causeway there is also a Gromit train to ride and an exhibition – as well as being one of the places to get a stamp in your passport. They are clearly marked whether they are indoors or not, and it is advised to check the opening times. We did find, however, that one of the dogs was taken inside when it was marked as outside. This is probably largely to do with the fact that some of the dogs have been vandalised – which has made it a real shame as it meant we never had a chance to see them all. They are going to all be auctioned off on the 3rd October 2013 at the Gromit Unleashed Pavillion at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway – to the highest bidders.
Each one was so fantastic, and so different. It was great studying all the details that made each unique.
There are ways to help contribute to the Appeal – buckets by the Gromit’s, Gromit Souvenirs, and over merchandise – available at passports stops and online at www.gromitunleashed.org.uk/shop. There are teddies, bags, bands, keyrings, t-shirts – go have a good look round.
The Apperley Quarter Marathon has also chosen this as their charity this year and will take place at 11am on the 7th September – to find out more visit www.quartermarathon.co.uk.
We found (in alphabetically order)
A Close Shave – Harry Hill
Astro – IGNITION DG Ltd
Blossom – Emily Ketteringham
Butterfly – Hayes Parsons
Canis Major – Katy Christianson
Carosello – Giuliano Carapia
Collarfull – Hannah Cumming
Doodles – Simon Tofield
Eldoradog – Seb Burnett
Feathers – Dave Bain
Fish Tales – Jeremy Wade
Five a Day Dog – Laura Cramer
Gizmo – Sir Quentin Blake
Gnashional Gromit – The Beano
Gromit Lightyear -Pixar
Gromit-O-Matic – Donough O’Malley
Gromitasaurus -Huncan Daskell
Groscar – Chris Taylor
Grosmos – Cheba
Harmony – Marie Simpson
Hero -Tom Deams
It’s Kraken Gromit! – Filthy Luker
Jack – Martin Band
Lancelot – Sir Paul Smith
Lodekka – IGNITION DG Ltd
Malago – Dan Collings at Thirty Three
Poetry in Motion – Joanne Lumley OBE
Poochadelic – Lisa Hassell
Roger – Richard Williams
Salty Sea Dog -Peter Lord CBE
Steam Dog – Dan Shearn at Red Central
The Grommalo – Axel Scheffler
The King – Stephen McKay
The Snow Gromit – Raymond Briggs
The Wild West – Amy Timms
Two Eds are Better than One – Peter Brookes
Where’s Wallace? – Martin Handford
It was interesting to see what was the same and what was different, from all those years ago, - like Quakers Friar where we got married. We even took the children to Fishponds, where we first met. We had such a great time that we stayed right until the sun went down – in fact our youngest fell asleep and missed the last few. Bit gutted that the battery died on the phone, and the internet signal wasn’t always very good, which resulted in a few not being recorded – including the Gromit of the day. By the time we picked up signal it said we were too far away to count
My favourite was the one in the children’s library – The Grommalo – with its Gruffalo pictures – which always reminds me of the lovely Jenny over on MummyMishaps.
Whether you’ve seen them in real life, or pictures on the net – which is your favourite?
You can send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @BristolPost with the hashtag #GromitUnleashed – photos will appear daily on the Bristol Post Website www.Bristolpost.co.uk
Thank you to Sarah for first alerting me to Gromit Unleased; Emma for a fantastic blog post that ensured that I knew it wasn’t too late to go Gromit Hunting, and Nikki for really stoking my enthusiasm to go.
This is not a sponsored post – I was really appreciative of what has been put on for FREE and figure it is the least I can do to help the charity by blogging about it (as well as the donations we made, and things we bought in the shop).