Mini Gromit trail coming to Cribbs Causeway to raise money for sick children

Artist Paula Bowles painting a Gromit ready for the new trail at Cribbs Causeway. Credit: The Grand Appeal

Fifteen Gromit sculptures - including old favourites and some brand new - are to be dotted around the Mall at Cribbs Causeway near Bristol to raise awareness for The Grand Appeal.

"Gromit Unleashed: The Grand Adventure" will see the models forming a mini trail around the Mall both inside and out from Saturday 23 October.

Organisers have installed safety measures to protect people during the coronavirus pandemic.

These Gromit Unleashed characters were part of a hugely popular trail across Bristol in 2018. Credit: PA

The statues are based on the much-loved characters in Aardman Animations' Wallace and Gromit films but are a whole lot more colourful. They will feature the dog Gromit himself, his owner Wallace, arch enemy Feathers McGraw and the irrepressible Shaun the Sheep.

Nicola Masters, Director of The Grand Appeal says: “Over the past few months we’ve been working out a way to bring some of the magic and fun of Gromit Unleashed to life this autumn. We want to help bring a smile to the faces of shoppers and their families while they are visiting The Mall at the end of such a difficult year for everyone.

“Gromit Unleashed: The Grand Adventure will take visitors on a safe adventure, while helping raise awareness of the sick babies and children in our region that still need our help and support.”

The trail will take place from 24 October 2020 to 3 January 2021 and follows a number of very successful public arts trails across Bristol.

What is the theme of the exhibition?

Carys Tait creates a Russian doll Gromit for the globetrotting exhibition. Credit: The Grand Appeal

The Grand Adventure will be a global one. The Gromits will each represent a different country and take fans on a globe-trotting world tour from Russia to Australasia and America’s ‘Wild Wild West’.

Can we touch the sculptures?

Due to Covid-19 precautions, the sculptures will be placed out of reach but organisers have arranged a number of spots where people can take selfies in safety.

What other safety precautions will be in place?

There will be a one way system around the sculptures with stickers reminding visitors to keep two metres apart.

People will have to wear face masks unless they are under 11 or medically exempt.

If the sculpture you are looking at is very popular you may be asked to move on to the next ones and come back later.

Emily Ketteringham working on her Gromit for the new trail at The Mall near Bristol. Credit: The Grand Appeal

Is there an App?

Previous trails have had a mobile phone App where people can tick off their finds. The Grand Adventure only covers a small area so this time a passport has been created. It can be picked up in the Gromit Unleashed shop at the Mall and can also be printed out. There will also be maps available, both in the shop and online.

Can I buy any of the sculptures?

An auction of Gromits in 2013 raised £2.3 million for The Grand Appeal. Credit: PA

Normally the characters are auctioned off at the end of the trail to raise money for sick babies and children. This time organisers have decided to keep hold of all the sculptures in case they are needed for something bigger.

If you really want one - and bear in mind that they sell for £20,000 - £50,000 - do contact The Grand Appeal.

There is of course plenty of merchandise available at the Gromit Unleashed shop at The Mall and online.

Where does any money raised go?

Gromit Unleashed raises money for The Grand Appeal. Everything it makes and all the work it does supports sick children at Bristol Children's Hospital and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. That could be funding life-saving research, pioneering equipment, arts, music and play and even family accommodation.

Find out more about the work of The Grand Appeal here.

Shaun the Sheep will also be making an appearance on the trail - although we don't know yet which version. Credit: PA