Giant Gromits
Photo: Heart

By Amy Haines

Sixty sculptures of popular film character Gromit, from Wallace and Gromit, are to be decorated and placed around Bristol next summer.

The 1.5-metre-tall models are to be painted by national and international artists over the next few months before the big reveal to the public.

‘Gromit Unleashed’ aims to raise money for Wallace and Gromit’s Children’s Foundation, which supports sick children in hospitals and hospices around the UK.

The plan follows the ‘Wow! Gorillas’ project last summer, where sixty large, decorated gorillas were distributed around the city in aid of Bristol Zoo’s gorilla conservation projects and Wallace and Gromit’s Children’s Foundation.

The gorillas were decorated in a variety of ways, with favourites including the Isambard Kingdom-Brunel gorilla and the Elvis gorilla. The Gromits will raise money for the charity through sponsorship and an auction after ten weeks in Bristol.

Early sponsors include Wessex Water, The Mall at Cribbs Causeway and Rolls Royce.

As well as raising over £400,000 for charity, the success of the ‘Wow! Gorillas’ can be measured by the 75,000 ‘gorilla trail’ maps picked up and the 35,000 maps downloaded online, as well as attracting over 12,000 likes on Facebook. The gorillas were thought to have promoted tourism in the city, being placed at Bristol’s most significant landmarks including Clifton Suspension Bridge, St Mary Redcliffe and Queen’s Square.

Gromit is the loyal dog belonging to Wallace in four successful short films and one feature-length film. The films have won two Oscars and three BAFTAs for creator Nick Park of Aardman Animations. Aardman, based in Bristol, uses moulded plasticine and stop-motion animation to

capture the pair’s adventures. Wallace, voiced by Peter Sallis, is a scatterbrained inventor from Wigan who loves Wensleydale cheese and repeatedly finds himself in difficult situations. It is often up to Gromit, a silent yet sensible character, to rescue Wallace. In 2010, Empire Magazine listed Gromit as ‘top dog’ in their list of ‘the 50 best animated movie characters’, stating that whilst ‘Gromit doesn’t ever say a word (…) there has never been a more expressive character (animated or other-wise) to grace our screens’.

The Gromits will be ‘unleashed’ on July 1st 2013. For more information, visit the website, ‘like’ Gromit Unleashed on Facebook or follow on Twitter.