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.