Giant Gromits raise over £2.3million for Bristol Children’s Hospital
Charity phenomenon, Gromit Unleashed came to a fantastic finale this evening as 81 giant Gromit sculptures went under the hammer in an electrifying auction to raise money for Bristol Children’s Hospital.
Following a thrilling evening of bidding from invited guests and online bidders, the auction led by TV celebrity auctioneer Tim Wonnacott, raised a huge £2,357,000.00
Gromit Unleashed organisers Aardman and the children’s hospital charity, Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal were there to celebrate the climax of the charity arts trail, which has attracted hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world.
A total of 92 lots, including 81 5ft high Gromit sculptures and 11 3ft Gromits, made up the fundraising total.
In addition to the 500 bidders in the Gromit Unleashed Pavillion at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway, the auctioneer took bids from 1,889 people bidding online.
Highlights of the night were Nick Park’s unique sculpture Newshound which depicts both Wallace & Gromit, and fetched £50,000, Watch Out Dog! By Gerald Scarfe which also raised £50,000 and the top-dog on the night was Gromit Lightyear by Pixar which sold for £65,000.
The 4.5 hour event kicked off with the auction of Patch by Emily Golden and after a further 90 lots, came to a close with the 3ft high Bristol Children’s Hospital Gromit designed by patients.
Nicola Masters, director of The Grand Appeal said: “The Gromits have captured the public’s imagination in a way we could never have dreamt of. The trail alone hugely exceeded our expectations, followed by the tens of thousands that attended the exhibition. But we had no idea whether all that would translate tonight, the night that counts. And to raise over £2 million for the Bristol Children’s Hospital has been truly staggering.
“We want to thank everyone for making it such a success, and, not least Aardman, Nick Park and Gromit for helping us to turn a simple idea into an amazing reality.”
Nick Park, creator of Wallace and Gromit said: “I don’t usually get to see the audience, it was great on the trail to see families and kids running up and embracing the Gromits.
“It’s all been summed up tonight. People have really put their money where their mouth is and shown how much they care for the children’s hospital and I guess, for Gromit too. He’s done well that lad, I’m very proud to lend my dog.”
Gromit Unleashed took Bristol by storm, when 80 giant Gromits took up residence in the city and beyond throughout the summer.
Since the eclectic mix of 5ft high Gromit sculptures decorated by famous names from fashion, film and books, hit the streets of Bristol in early July, the Gromit Unleashed trail went from success to success.
Organisers were overwhelmed by the response, which saw hundreds of thousands of people from Bristol, the UK and overseas flock to the public arts trail and visitor numbers to key tourist attractions double.
The auction proceeds will go towards the Grand Appeal’s campaign to support the expansion of the Bristol Children’s Hospital, one of the leading multi-disciplinary children’s hospitals in the UK.
The Grand Appeal has pledged to raise an initial £3.5 million for state-of-the-art equipment, including an intraoperative MRI scanner, family facilities and child-friendly artwork to enhance the £31 million investment by the NHS.
Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal has already raised over £22 million for Bristol Children’s Hospital, one of only a few specialist children’s hospitals in the UK providing life-saving surgery, care and treatment to children on a local, national and international scale.