HUNDREDS of people from across the UK gathered at Aerospace Bristol recently to bid on the giant, decorated Wallace, Gromit and Feathers McGraw sculptures to raise money for The Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity. The auction is the culmination of the charity’s third sculpture trail, Gromit Unleashed 2.
The 66 sculptures of Nick Park’s Academy Award®-winning characters – which spent the summer on Bristol’s streets as part of the trail – went under the hammer under the wings of Concorde, raising over £1.3 million for Bristol Children’s Hospital and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St Michael’s Hospital in Bristol.
Auction guests were given a rapturous welcome by the evening’s host Peter Lord, Co-founder and Creative Director of Aardman and long-time patron of The Grand Appeal. Guests were then entertained by the much-loved British actress, writer, comedian and presenter Dawn French, who went on to introduce renowned auctioneer Richard Madley. Richard, the former President of Christie’s in New York, brought down the hammer on all 66 lots with hundreds of bidders at the event, and also those at home bidding online. Thousands of trail fans from across the world tuned in as the auction was streamed online.
Among some of the highest lots were ‘Wallambard’, based on Bristol’s famous engineer (sold for £55,000), Natalie Guy’s ‘The Emperor’, a bejewelled Feathers McGraw (sold for £38,000) and Nick Park’s classic ‘Gromit’ (sold at £42,000). Sculptures designed by world-renowned brands and household names such as LEGO, Pixar Animations and DreamWorks also went under the hammer.
Together with fundraising during the popular sculpture trail, the amount raised by Gromit Unleashed 2 stands at £1.6 million so far.
Nicola Masters, Director of The Grand Appeal, said:
“We couldn’t have imagined a better end to our incredible summer trail than the auction. It was electrifying to see bidding wars both in the room and online, pushing the total higher and higher. It really is a testament to our artists, sponsors, partners and of course Nick’s wonderful characters that we’ve been able to raise such a staggering amount.
“The money raised will benefit some really exciting projects that we’re working on with the wonderful staff at Bristol Children’s Hospital – such as our pioneering 3D Cardiac Bio-Printing Service and further family accommodation for parents of critically ill children and babies. The impact of everybody’s generosity will be felt for years to come by sick babies and children all over the South West and for that, we are so grateful.”
The auction is the grand finale to the charity’s sculpture trail which saw hundreds of thousands of people from across the UK and overseas take part in Gromit Unleashed 2, the third arts trail from Bristol Children’s Hospital charity The Grand Appeal. Raising money for Bristol Children’s Hospital, trail fans spent a combined 34,000 days sculpture hunting, covering a distance of over 1.25 million miles.
Gromit Unleashed 2 is the first public arts trail in the world to feature interactive sculptures, contactless donation technology and not one, but three famous characters. It follows on from the success of The Grand Appeal’s previous two trails in partnership with Aardman: Gromit Unleashed and Shaun in the City, which together raised over £6 million for Bristol Children’s Hospital.