Category Archives: Gromit Unleashed
In 2015, hordes of Gromits were spotted in Bristol as part of the Bristol Children’s Hospital’s Grand Appeal. They raised money for the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and St Michael’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (Special Care Baby Unit).
Now it’s the turn of the people of the Cotswolds to expect something unusual in their towns and villages. This time, there are hares; lots of hares. The Cotswold Hare Trial is a trail of public art sculptures of over 80 five-foot high hares, decorated by professional, amateur and community group artists.
Aimed at raising public awareness for creativity in the everyday world, the sculptures are strategically placed across 28 towns and villages throughout the Cotswolds for six months.
The Cotswold Hare initiative has been warmly embraced by local businesses and community organisations. It has created an accessible open-air art gallery in the region. The Cotswolds covers almost 800 square miles and runs through the counties of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.
Not only is the art visually accessible, but the hares can be touched and people are encouraged to handle and engage with the art. According to the organisers of the March Hare Trail, “the hares are designed to promote an emotional response with people expressing a wide range of positive reactions. Their engagement is often felt moving many to tears and enabling people to connect to the pieces through their feelings.”
Children in particular are enjoying the hares. Some of the hares have been designed and decorated by school children from nursery age to the students in higher education. At the end of the festival, an auction of the sculptures will be held, with art auctions houses and art galleries across the UK and abroad following its progress.
“This enables us to put back money into the community which has supported us. This year National Star and local museums being the beneficiaries of our net profits. The Festival retains its not-for-profit status returning any monies raised back into the project,” comment the organisers.
For inns, pubs and restaurants around the area, the festival is a welcome tourist attraction, enticing visitors from far and wide. It offers the opportunity for many establishments whom AC Services supports such as the Inn at Fossebridge and the Crown of Crucis in Cirencester as well as the Egypt Mill in Nailsworth to open their doors to those on the trail of hares.
Both Royal Oak, Tetbury and Old Bell, Malmesbury are sponsoring hares. We hope they have as much fun as we did when we sponsored our Gromit. Without the sponsors there would be no trail and a lot less fun to be had by all.
Finding a route
One of our team has already started to work out a route to tick off a number of our customers and hares. He starts at the Sixteen Restaurant & Café, Witney, then to the Angel Inn, Burford before heading north to Stow on the Wold (No 4 @ Stow) and Broadway’s Dormy House Hotel and Russells.
Then a little west to Winchcombe (the Lion Inn) before the spa splendour of Cheltenham’s Daffodil and Wild Beer Co. South to Stroud (Bisley House Café) before arriving in the Capital of the Cotswolds, Cirencester. Its 20 hares would account for a day themselves. His route ends in Tetbury’s Priory Inn!
Thankfully our engineers don’t usually cover so many clients in one trip. And it would be silly not to spend some time with each hare on the way and visit their sponsors.
“Events such as the Cotswold Hare are welcomed by our Cotswold customers as visitors can see for themselves the beauty and hospitality of the Cotswold communities from hamlets to cities,” comments Helen Hagger of AC Services (Southern). The festival runs until September with the auction taking place in October.
Yes, Shaun in the City is happening this spring and summer, with 120 giant Shaun the Sheep sculptures, created by a variety of famous artists, designers and celebrities, gracing the streets of both London and Bristol.
“I’m just a simple sheep (albeit from the ovis aries branch of the animal world, which, you may not be aware, is quite a prestigious family line). I mean, I come from humble beginnings, from a minor part in A Close Shave, where admittedly, I stole the show, and now here I am, an international superstar. I just can’t believe it,” says Shaun, humbly. Allegedly.
70 sculptures will be seen around Bristol from 6th July to 31st August, in all shapes and forms.
Then all sculptures, including those from the London tour will feature in the ‘Great Sheep Round Up’ in Bristol from 12th to 20th September, with all 120 sculptures on display.
At the end of the tour, the sculptures will be sold at auction to raise funds for Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Charity and The Grand Appeal.
Artist Ros Franklin
In 2013, Ros Franklin created Dog Rose Gromit sponsored by AC Services for the “Gromit Unleashed” initiative which raised a phenomenal amount for the Grand Appeal.
We were delighted to hear that this year, Ros is contributing with a Shaun the Sheep sculpture called Hamish in Paternoster Square, London for sponsors Walkers Shortbread Ltd . We hope that Walkers have as much fun with their sponsorship as we did last time
Both the Gromit and Shaun in the City trails support the Bristol Children’s Hospital’s Grand Appeal http://www.grandappeal.org.uk/ to raise money for the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and St Michael’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (Special Care Baby Unit) at St Michael’s Hospital and other children’s hospitals across the UK.
The Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity, has raised over £31 million since 1995 supporting babies and children at Bristol Children’s Hospital and the Special Care Baby Unit at St Michael’s Hospital, with the provision of vital equipment, patient activities, new services and family accommodation.
Enjoy the fun
Or why not wait until the 70 come to Bristol in July and August and join us at AC Services Southern having fun Shaun-spotting, Shaun-trailing and above all raising some money for the Grand Appeal before the September exhibition of all 120 in Bristol like the Gromits Unleashed in 2013.
Kindly note image and references are covered by ®Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal. Registered Charity No. 1043603 ©/TM Aardman/Wallace & Gromit Ltd 2012
When something is good, it goes global. And it’s cracking news for the creators of the concept, Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal, as it has been adopted by Asia and has broken into the Hong Kong market.
For those of you who have been following the saga of the canine concept, this is a major step forward for the cause. For those unaware of the Gromit Unleashed fundraising scheme, it was established in 1995 and has since raised over £27 million for the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. Last year AC Services was the proud sponsor of Dog Rose Gromit for the Bristol trail.
Opened earlier this week and dubbed “The Greatest Dog Show on Earth,” Gromit Unleashed in Hong Kong features a display of 70 Gromit sculptures on an ornate, two-tier carousel band.
The sculptures are between 3m and 5m in height and the centrepiece is a stunning 4m high Gromit ‘G.R.M.T’, designed by Gavin Strange himself (self confessed “creative berk working as Senior Designer for Aardman by day and going under the alias of JamFactory by night.”) Truly dogs as far as the eye can see!
Signed Up Celebrities
More than fifty designers signed up for the event, including Nick Park, creator of Wallace & Gromit, and celebrity milliner Philip Treacy, (whose day job is to supply headwear to the Royal family) as well as numerous other artists, illustrators, fashion designers and musicians.
This is the first time that the event has taken place outside the UK, and shoppers at the Elements Mall in Hong Kong have been delighted with the sculptures. The exhibition is scheduled to last until 31st August.
At the end of the exhibition, the giant sculptures will be auctioned to raise funds for Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal and children’s art programmes in hospitals across Hong Kong.
The launch of the event was highly publicised and attended by some of Asia’s biggest names in fashion and art. One of the beneficiaries is Art in Hospital, whose director, Grace Cheng, said:
“To re-create the “Greatest Dog Show on Earth” for the first time in Asia, over 60 local and international artists have generously participated in the campaign to design an array of one-of-a-kind looks for world-famous Gromit. All Gromit sculptures will go to auction after the exhibition, to raise funds for our organization in Hong Kong, and another children’s charity in the UK. This focus on helping children in need makes the campaign even more meaningful.”
AC Services (Southern) has been heavily involved with the Bristol Children’s Hospital’s Grand Appeal to raise money for the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and St Michael’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (Special Care Baby Unit) at St Michael’s Hospital.
Sadly, despite quite a few hissy fits, tears and tantrums, none of the staff were allowed to attend the event in Hong Kong, because repairing and maintaining Rational ovens was considered more important!
As those who keep a close eye on our site will know, AC Services (Southern) has been heavily involved with the Bristol Children’s Hospital’s Grand Appeal. Last year we sponsored a Gromit to raise money for the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and St Michael’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (Special Care Baby Unit) at St Michael’s Hospital.
And this week, there is cause for celebrations and hearty congratulations all round!
Million Dollar Babies
The news has come through that the current overall fundraising total stands at a staggering £27 million thanks in part to the Gromit Unleashed project, which alone raised a phenomenal £3.8 million for the cause. To put this into the context of amazing achievements, during an average year the Grand Appeal, which has been operating since 1995, normally raises around £1 million. The princely sum of £3.8 million was raised in just 18 months!
£2.3 million was raised through auctioning 92 Gromits of varying sizes, which were created by local artists, designers and celebrities. This of course, included AC Services very own creation, Dog Rose, lovingly created by Ros Franklin!
For 16 days last summer, Bristol was taken over by fans of this iconic and world-renowned canine, who incidentally (and not a lot of people know this), graduated from Dogwarts University with a double first in Engineering for Dogs.
The other £1.5m came from events, such as the Gromit Unleashed trail, with 1.18 million people alone visiting the Gromit Unleashed trail and exhibition this summer. 42% came from around the UK reflecting the support of a nation in a worthy cause.
The funds raised have gone to finance a new intraoperative MRI scanner, only the second of its kind in the UK, and one of just a handful in Europe. With the capacity to scan patients in the operating room in real-time, the state-of-the-art equipment will revolutionise surgery for sick children.
Michael Carter, consultant neurosurgeon at the hospital, said that the scanner will allow his team to operate on tiny areas of the brain. He said: “The machine gives us image guidance capacity. At the moment, we have to bring patients round, re-scan them, and then they have another operation . Now we can do it all in one operation. The more complete removal of tumours will increase survival rates.”
The amount raised has spurred organisers to aim for higher with a second phase of the appeal aimed at raising a further £1.2m for life saving equipment and family oriented services at the hospital.
Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal was established in 1995 and has since raised over £27 million to support a wide range of life-saving medical equipment, family accommodation, and patient comforts, along with a programme of arts, music, education and play facilities in the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.
AC Services are delighted to have been able to help this worthy cause through sponsoring a Gromit in 2013.
Back in January 2013 I picked up the local free Newspaper and read an article regarding The Wallace and Gromit Grand Appeal. 60 Gromit Unleashed Sponsors were being sought for the forthcoming Exhibition of Gromit statues all around Bristol.
In 2011 I had thoroughly enjoyed finding 36 out of the 60 Gorillas in Bristol City Centre, so I rang the Gromit Unleashed team, paid over my sponsorship in aid of a fantastic cause The Bristol Children’s Hospital and A C Services (Southern) were on board.
On Thursday 7 March, my colleague Caron and I went to the first event which was to view all the artists preliminary designs and we chose Ros Franklin’s ‘Petal’ design. A few weeks later we were offered a position on Whiteladies Road, I wanted our Gromit to be placed where there were many Restaurants, Pubs, Cafes etc as A C Services installs and maintains Rational Combi Ovens and Whiteladies Road was perfect with over 50 establishments on the main road plus many many more on the adjoining roads.
In May – Tom (my official photographer) and I walked the full length of Whiteladies Road introducing ourselves to many eateries and photographing Chef and Bert – our Rational mascots. Then on 1st June the countdown began with Chef and Bert searching for ‘Dog Rose’ Gromit in their daily AC Services facebook blog.
Caron and I (with Chef and Bert) were invited to the Gromit Unleashed launch party at the M Shed at the end of June and we were delighted to meet up with Ros Franklin for the first time and lucky enough to see some of the Gromits too – Gromberry, Isambark King Dog Brunel and Gromit Lightyear to name but a few.
That weekend all the Gromits were sited, in and around Bristol, in readiness for the official Trail start on Monday 1 July, with a few further afield in Cheddar, Westonbirt, Hawkesbury Upton and London Paddington Station. Over the next few weeks we spent much of our spare time visiting the Gromits and I managed to visit all of them except one by mid August.
On Saturday 7 September, I visited no. 80 ‘Gromit’ at Paddington Station and was fortunate to be upgraded to travel First Class by First Great Western Trains. Gromit had his photo taken, I ticked him off on the ‘Detect’O’Gromit App and then spent the rest of the day visiting the Queen’s Coronation Exhibition at Buckingham Palace and HMS Belfast and had a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting day.
I was thrilled when, as a Gromit Unleashed sponsor, I was invited to a private viewing of the Greatest Dog Show on Earth, where all the Gromits were together for one last time and I got to see a new Gromit, number 81, aptly named ‘Gromit Voyage’ the following week by a competition winner and I was lucky enough to meet and chat with Nick Park – Wallace and Gromit’s Creator from Aardman Studios and Gavin Strange artist of Stat’s the Way to do it, Lad!
Again as a Gromit Unleashed sponsor I was invited to attend the auction on Thursday 3 October and met up again with Ros Franklin and her husband Roy. Tim Wonnacott carried out a superb job as auctioneer and the evening was streamed live on the internet and was a rip roaring success .
As I had predicted the majority of Gromits were sold for over £18,000 and Dog Rose raised £20,000. To see what each Gromit went for click here. Even the 11 smaller Gromits, who were designed by competition winners and painted by artist Vivi Cuevas, sold for between £12,000 and £21,000.
The final astonishing total on the evening was £2,357,000 for just the sale of the Gromits – which is an absolutely phenomenal amount of money and Bristol Children’s Hospital will benefit greatly from all the extra funds.
The streets of Bristol seem eerily quiet. A distant bell tolls and a dry wind stirs up an eddy of dust sending tumbleweed tumbling across the empty pavements. Solitary shoppers, looking lost, stare vacantly as if searching for once familiar landmarks. But the Gromits have gone.
That’s a bit of an exaggeration, and a little unfair to an amazing city, but for 69 days Bristol was transformed by Gromit Unleashed – an invasion of Gromits that injected colour, drama, comedy and beauty into almost every corner of the City. The Gromits spearheaded a huge fund-raising campaign aiming to raise £3.5 million for The Grand Appeal in aid of Bristol Children’s Hospital.
Each Gromit had a local or national sponsor, including Dog Rose, the gorgeous Gromit sponsored by AC Services. But, on Sunday, September 8th, the project came to an end. The last Gromit was removed and now they are to be sold at auction.
We all had a last chance to say our goodbyes at The Greatest Dog Show on Earth, held in Clifton, Bristol, which was extended to include Monday 23rd – up ‘til 8 p.m. It was the final opportunity to see all 80 glorious Gromits gathered together before they are scattered to the four corners of the globe. On Thursday, October 3rd, collectors from around the world will be able to bid for these unique sculptures, which were created by some of the best-known names in art, animation, design and entertainment. The auction will be run by Sotheby’s auctioneer and TV antiques presenter Tim Wonnacott. All proceeds are going to The Grand Appeal.
Gromit Unleashed has been an amazing success with media coverage in newspapers, radio and TV across the world. The project has had fantastic support, not just from the public, but from local businesses as well, including AC Services. Our Facebook page has tracked the whole story right from the beginning as Chef and Bert, our two mascots, visited every single Gromit in the city. And that included a trip to London to see Original Gromit on the station platform at Paddington.
We don’t yet know the total of money raised for The Grand Appeal, but we do know that AC Services’ contribution has been over £600 from the “Likes” we have received on our Facebook page and a local figurine raffle. Thank you for helping us support this great cause.
We can announce that the winner of the replica figurine of Dog Rose in our customer prize draw was Adrian Gosztonyi of Marlborough College Catering Department – congratulations Adrian! Marlborough College has been a regular service customer of AC Services for 9 years now and we hope Dog Rose will take pride of place in their catering department.
We also ran a competition along with local school St. Mary’s C.E. Primary School, Yate for the best drawing of (our) Gromit and had an amazing response. The winner, with this sensational canine portrait was Owen Walker, year 2. Runner up the painting in blue, was Jodi Palmer, year 5.
Bristol may seem a little duller now without the spark of colour and humour that Gromit Unleashed brought to the city’s streets. But it’s also shown what a fantastic community spirit exists there and demonstrates just what can be achieved when people get behind an idea and make it happen.
A C Services has been hitting the news in traditional newspapers and on-line through social media in its efforts to raise more money for Bristol Children’s Hospital through the Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal.
For anyone Liking A C Services facebook page, the company will contribute 50p to the fund. So the cost to those who like is nothing and up to £1,000 could be raised for the Hospital.
The Local Papers
‘’YATE company A C Services (Southern) Ltd is hoping Gromit spotters and social networkers will help them raise plenty of cash for charity.’’ The Gazette series. To read more
The main news supporter of Gromit Unleashed and founding sponsor is of course the Bristol Post, where on Friday 19th July, our Dog Rose Gromit was the masthead. To see all the Gromits and follow the news see the Bristol Post.
The Trade Press
‘’Commercial combi ovens and animated TV series Wallace & Gromit don’t exactly go hand-in-hand, but they mean something to one catering equipment service company this summer.’’ Catering Insight. To read more.
The Specialist Press
“Artists from around the world were invited to come up with a design using the theme “Gromit Unleashed”. As a botanical artist my idea came in a flash…. Assuming “unleashed” to mean free or wild, Gromit is a dog, and as an illustrator of plants…. Well it just had to be Rosa canina, the Dog Rose!!With this idea in my head the first sketches were completed before Christmas last year, and the fully detailed submissions were due by mid-January.
I was telephoned in mid-February to be told (prior to the short listing of artists) that my design was accepted and that they wished to deliver my sculpture as soon as possible because they wanted to make small figurines from the design once it was completed, so time was of the essence! I had been selected out of over 800 applications – this was now getting scary.”
Ros Franklin the Artist in Palette & Petal, Journal of the South West Society of Botanical Artists. To read more please contact the Society.
Helping Us to Help Bristol’s Children’s Hospital
We’d like to thank all these for sharing our news and helping us towards our £1,000 target.
Why not help us spread the news, so together we can raise more money for the Children’s Hospital- just like our Facebook page and share the link.
Gromit Unleashed is a massive fund-raising project for Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal in aid of the Bristol Childrens Hospital and we are asking for your help.
Just go to our Facebook page and all you need to do is ‘like’ us and we will donate 50p for each like up to a maximum of £1,000.
We are also giving away one of the Dog Rose Gromit figurines to a lucky customer, so why not enter the draw at the same time.
Our beautifully painted Gromit “Dog Rose” can be found outside Tyndale Baptist Church on Whiteladies Road, Bristol. He has been lovingly created by Ros Franklin and joins 79 other Gromits that were unleashed on 1st July.
If you do get a chance to visit Bristol this summer please stop by and say hello to Dog Rose. Please join in the summer fun and upload your photos with him for all to share on our Facebook page. Thank you for your help.
Bearing the rather embarrassing (for an all-action-hero dog like Gromit) name of ““Dog Rose”– our Gromit has been lovingly created by the amazing botanical painter and illustrator, Ros Franklin, and will hold pride of place in Bristol’s Whiteladies Road outside Tyndale Baptist Church until September 8th.
As you can see from the photo, he features a beautifully painted and very apt wild dog rose entwined around his torso. The painting represented many hours of painstaking, detailed work by Ros and I think reflects well the AC Services’ approach to maintaining and repairing Rational ovens (forgive the obvious plug!)
“Dog Rose” joins 80 other Gromits which were unleashed on the city of Bristol on July 1st and he will be in exotic company. Famous artists and celebrities from across the world have all contributed Gromits, from cartoonist Gerald Scarfe to fashion designer Sir Paul Smith and from Joanna Lumley with her absolutely fabulous, poetry-covered Gromit to Jools Holland and his musical Bumble Boogie Gromit. The Royal Mint has contributed a National Treasure Gromit covered in 10,000 brand new one penny coins, including a specially commissioned Gromit medallion. Even The Beano’s Gnasher has managed to gate-crash Gromit’s party with his Gnashional Gromit – covered in extracts of original Beano artwork.
But, the most exciting news for us is that, Dog Rose our AC Services Gromit, has been chosen as one of the mini Gromit ceramic figurines which are being sold as official Gromit Unleashed merchandise to raise money for Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal.
Win your own Gromit
And we are giving away one of these unique Gromit figurines to a lucky customer. If you get your Rational oven serviced by AC Services during the 10 weeks of the Gromit Unleashed event, which runs from July 1st to September 8th, just go to our Facebook page and enter the draw. We’ll be drawing the lucky winner from the list of eligible entries on September 9th.
After the trail has ended the Gromits will be auctioned off to raise money for The Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity. To find out more, visit their website at www.grandappeal.org.uk or www.gromitunleashed.org.uk
Earlier this year, I mentioned that we were sponsoring one of the giant Gromit statues that are forming a huge art exhibition throughout Bristol this summer. Gromit Unleashed is a massive fund-raising project to place 80 Gromit sculptures, each painted by well-known and local artists, in key locations around the city. At the time we couldn’t tell you much about it as a lot of the information was being kept under wraps for the big launch on July 1st.
I can now reveal that the artist we chose was the amazing botanical painter and illustrator, Ros Franklin – just take a look at her website and you’ll understand why. Ros is one of the most gifted botanical artists in the country and is also chairman of the Eden Project Florilegium Society in Cornwall where she also teaches on botanical drawing and illustration courses.
Ros joins other famous artists named so far in the Gromit Unleashed exhibition including Sir Quentin Blake, Gerald Scarfe, Cath Kidston and celebrities like designer Sir Paul Smith and comedian Harry Hill.
So, how did someone who creates the most exquisitely delicate paintings of flowers, plants and wildlife get caught up in the rough and tumble world of an internationally renowned character?
“I was watching the BBC News last year and they had an item about a project called Gromit Unleashed in Bristol, saying they were looking for artists to paint statues of Gromit,” Ros said.
“I don’t normally have my laptop with me, but that day I did. I googled the website and applied to take part, then just before Christmas I got an email saying I had been accepted and they asked me to submit a design. I knew straight away what my design was going to be.
But then came three weeks of hard work, spending eight or nine hours a day gradually turning her inspiration into reality. Ros had to get used to a new medium – her Gromit Unleashed had to be painted with acrylics rather than the water colours she normally uses – and she was now painting on a three-dimensional surface as well.
“It seemed very strange to begin with – but I was inspired and that carried me through. Not to mention lots of moral support and cups of tea from my husband!” she said.
The Gromit Unleashed project will raise money for Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal in aid of the Bristol Children’s Hospital, one of only a few specialist centres in the UK providing life-saving surgery, care and treatment to children on a local, national and international scale. At the end of the exhibition in September, all 80 Gromits will be auctioned with all the proceeds going to the Grand Appeal.
AC Services is thrilled to be supporting this project with Ros and we are especially excited to hear that Ros’s statue will be made into a ceramic figurine and sold in the dedicated merchandise shops on the trail. Please see the Gromit Unleashed website for more information.
Watch this space for more news on our Gromit Unleashed activities.
NB Images and logos © and TM Aardman/W&G Ltd. 2013. ® Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal. Charity No. 1043603