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The Great

Gromit Auction

OCTOBER 2013

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Gromit Auction

SUMMER SENSATION ENDS IN A NIGHT TO REMEMBER After a sensational summer on the streets of Bristol, those lovable Gromits exceeded expectations when auctioned for charity. Vicki Mathias looks at the phenomenon of Gromit Unleashed and how it will go down in Bristol’s history.

Every Gromit tells a story .... p4,5&13

We take a look at the variety of stories behind those amazing purchases

On behalf of beautiful, fragile Esmee, thank you all ............... p6&7 Bristol Post editor Mike Norton explains his very personal reason for backing the appeal

I think a little bit of history was made in Bristol tonight ........... p8

I

T was always going to be big – but no one could have predicted just how huge the impact of unleashing decorated dogs on to the streets of Bristol was going to be. The charity arts trail benefited from its association with Aardman and, most notably, the popular pooch from the Oscar-winning Wallace and Gromit films. And on Thursday the sculptures fetched more than £2.3 million for Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal, the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children charity for which the dog is mascot. A public arts trail featuring Wallace’s sidekick was thought up two years ago. But at every stage it grew beyond the expectations of everyone involved. Nick Park admitted he was nervous at the idea of asking artists to put their mark on his character, worried they would not be up for the challenge. But huge international names from the worlds of art and animation, a host of celebrities, high-profile fashion designers and local artists agreed to take part. And when the Grand Appeal gave businesses and organisations in the city the chance to sponsor one of the Gromits last year, the demand to be part of the project was so huge that the number of sculptures rose from an initial pack of 60 to 70 and finally 80 dogs. After they took up their new homes around Bristol and beyond, the sculptures proved so popular that hundreds of thousands of people visited them. Some made short trips across the city to take in the trail, while others journeyed from all corners of the UK and the world to see the statues. About 4,500 photographs were sent into the Bristol Post by Gromit fans keen to have their picture included in the pages of the newspaper and on its website as the city was gripped by Gromit fever. People queued for hours as demand to see all the decorated dogs in one place during the Greatest Dog Show on Earth exhibition last month exceeded the expectations of organisers. Opening hours were extended and an extra day was added as people demonstrated their commitment to seeing the whole collection of Gromits. But despite the excitement that surrounded the trail throughout the summer, no-one could have predicted

CONTENTS

Appeal director Nicola Masters describes one emotional evening

After 20 years it felt like I had been building up to this ...................... p10 The auction night was a dream come true for one Gromit ‘superfan’

I’d go and make sure people were treating him well ...................... p10 Aardman co-founder Peter Lord on seeing his Gromit on the streets

I started to get a tingling right up the back of my neck .............. p12 ● Gromit Unleashed auctioneer Tim Wonnacott with Gromit Lightyear, which sold for £65,000 just how big the auction night would be. In the cavernous marquee outside The Mall at Cribbs Causeway, television presenter Tim Wonnacott worked his auctioneer magic on the gathered crowd. Dancing deftly between bids as they were batted between the packed tent and the internet, the Sotheby’s auctioneer kept the room entertained while also ensuring the sale continued to move. He engaged with potential bidders, chatting, joking and occasionally flirting with them as he attempted to eke every pound out of the 500-strong audience. The Bargain Hunt presenter likened hosting an auction to acting. He said there was a “nervous moment before when you are wondering if it is

going to work – but by the time you get going you have a bit of fun”. He said the scale of the auction made Gromit Unleashed bigger than most charity auctions, which tend to be part of another event with half-a-dozen to a dozen items. Mr Wonnacott said: “This auction had a lot of lots, and a lot of interest from everybody who had the opportunity with the trail to look at them, and fall in love with one or two.” But despite the 92 lots – including the secret 81st Gromit and 11 miniature statues – Mr Wonnacott kept the auction moving. Even with the online auction stalling occasionally he managed to keep the bids rolling so that the event was wrapped up within three hours and ten minutes.

He described the auction as an “all-round, resounding success of which the people of Bristol should be very proud”. Mr Wonnacott said: “It must be one of the most successful charity sales in the UK. It has also been an absolute pleasure for me to be involved.” The audience played their part in proceedings, getting into the spirit of the night by cheering and clapping enthusiastically as the bids rose and landmark figures were reached. From the first Gromit, Patch – which went from £6,500 to £36,000 in minutes – to the final small Gromit, painted by patients at the children’s hospital and which sold for £21,000, the audience maintained their excitement throughout.

For Nick Park, the success has been a surprise from the start

The Magnificent 80 ................. p16&17 So here they are ... 80 Gromits all on one page to pull out and keep!

And here’s what they all went for ............. p18 to 30 From Lot 1 to Lot 92, check out each Gromit and its winning bid

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Gromit Auction

EVERY GROMIT TELLS A STORY... Galaxy-inspired dog given home not far, far away

“ In these times of economic restraint, people who have been successful should put something back into the community

● ONE of the proud new owners of a Gromit statue is the Needham family from north Bristol. They visited every Gromit – including those at Paddington station and in Cheddar – and each member of the family gave each dog a score of between nought and three. They decided to bid for the Gromit with the highest score – Canis Major, which they bought for £26,000. Dad Col Needham, 46, founder and chief executive of IMDb (CRRT), a film and television website, said: “Canis Major came out with a score of 11 out of 12 so that was near perfect. “We are so delighted to be

Charles Hack

● Col Needham and his family bought the Canis Major sculpture for £26,000 helping such a fantastic cause and something which has been wonderful for the city.” Mr Needham, his wife, Karen, and twins, Beth and Kate, 20, have decided to give their Gromit its own special room in their home.

Beth, a student studying history at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “We have loved seeing the children’s and adults’ faces as they visited each Gromit. There was a really special atmosphere at each one.”

Comfy kennel poised to home ‘special dog’

Gromit bidder’s double delight ● BRISTOL property developer Charles Hack bought two Gromits – to put in the gardens of his homes in Clifton and the Cotswolds. Mr Hack, 60, said: “People who have been successful should put something back into the community and I am delighted to do that for the city where I have lived for 33 years.”

Mr Hack bought Bristol Bulldog and The Gromalo for £26,000 each. The Gromalo, based on The Gruffalo, will go in the garden of his family’s home in the Cotswolds. And Bristol Bulldog will go in the garden of his home in Clifton. He said Gruffalo stories are favourites of his two sons, Freddie, 8, and Tom, 5.

● HAVING bid successfully for Carosello, Rebecca Carter now has plans to create a kennel for him so that he can have a comfortable home outdoors. She bid for the sculpture online with her husband Steve and was not 100 per cent sure that she had been successful. But on Monday the couple picked up the decorated dog and brought it back to their Whitchurch home. Mrs Carter, 43, the creator of website it’s a social, said she will probably use the Gromit for events the networking site is involved with. She is already planning on him making an appearance at a Halloween party. Mrs Carter said: “We did not expect to win and were really shocked.

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“We would have been happy with whatever we got but he is such a special dog after everything that has happened to him. “It was really amazing and exciting. We got a bit of a bargain and are really, really chuffed.” Mrs Carter has already been in

touch with the Gromit’s Italian artist Giuliano Carapia, who has said he will send over some of his original drawings. Mrs Carter said: “We are going to build a kennel with a roof and probably put some collection boxes with Carosello.”

Strawberry Gromit to be a Bristolian for ever

Ullo garage, got a new Gromit? ● A KINGSWOOD used-car dealership has a new, colourful companion after the sales manager’s daughter picked a Gromit for the firm to bid on. Nick Simms’ daughter Madison, 9, suggested that owner Colin Ludwell bid for Patch. Mr Ludwell was successful, paying £36,000 for the dog decorated by Emily Golden. Mr Ludwell, whose dealership goes by his name, has had experience of the children’s hospital after his son spent time being treated there last year.

● Stephen and Rebecca Carter with their Gromit Carosello

● Tony Barrett-Jones and son Troy. Businessman Mr Barrett-Jones paid £32,000 for strawberry Gromit Gromberry

BUSINESSMAN Tony Barrett-Jones decided to buy the Gromit which stood outside his home on the Harbourside during the summer. Mr Barrett-Jones could see Gromberry, which was sited outside The Pump House pub near the Cumberland Basin. He said: “We could see him each day and he became quite a friend to us. “We got the feeling that some of the Gromits would be going all over the world and we thought it would be a

good idea to try to keep one in the city.” Mr Barrett-Jones runs a food microbiology firm in Avonmouth and will be taking his Gromit, which he bought for £32,000, to display at food shows. He said: “It would be nice to put him on the balcony at home but I think that might attract too much attention. The main thing is to keep good care of him.” Mr Barrett-Jones’ son, Troy, 13, said: “I think it is awesome that we bought him.”


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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

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The Gromit Auction Commuters will get to see Sugar Plum ● SUGAR Plum will be on display to thousands of commuters who travel into Bristol on the A4 Bath Road. It was bought by Bruce Griffin, founder and managing director of Rockpool Digital, a website design firm. Mr Griffin said that the Gromit sculpture will be on show in the glass-fronted studio at The Paintworks so it can be seen by people as they pass. He said: “We are really excited to have been successful with our bid. “We exceeded our budget but it needed to be done because we really wanted to get one and help such a fantastic cause.” Mr Griffin, 31, lives in Alveston near Bristol with his wife, Cat, and two children, Quin, 3, and Caleb, 2. Mr Griffin said that both youngsters had spent time in the children’s hospital so he has first-hand knowledge of the work carried out there.

Tour-de-Grom helps finance successful bid

Grandad’s £50k thank-you to hospital BUSINESSMAN Fred Grainger bought a Gromit as a thank-you to the children’s hospital whose staff saved his grandson’s life. Little Luke Wadsworth, now 10 months old, needed open-heart surgery during his first week of life. Mr Grainger said: “If it was not for what they did at the hospital, Luke would not be with us today. “To see all the work in operation at

that hospital and how they go about it is really mind-blowing. When we sit little Luke on that Gromit, it is going to be a really special family moment.” Mr Grainger runs a family business called educationumbrella.com which sells books and other educational supplies to schools and colleges. It is based in Bristol and Exeter House next to Temple Meads railway station – so Mr Grainger thought it

would be particularly apt to buy Steam Dog, which he purchased for £50,000, because of its connection with railways. Luke’s father, Graham Wadsworth, paid his own special thank-you to the hospital by cycling from Paddington to Bristol and running to every Gromit in Bristol. His efforts raised £10,000 for Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal.

Meet the family with a Gromit in their kitchen

● Zachary Adams with his dad Richard and Gromit ‘Butterfly’ in his kitchen

Picture: Dave Betts BRDB20131008C-001_C

● NOT many people can say they have a Gromit in their kitchen - but that is where the Adams family are keeping theirs. The Warmley family bought Butterfly – designed by milliner to the stars and royalty Philip Treacy – for £20,000 at the auction. Zachary Adams, 18 went along to the sale with his father Richard and the pair surprised the rest of the family by announcing they had purchased the sky-blue sculpture covered in colourful butterflies. And Gromit has taken up home on the kitchen island, until they decide what else to do with him. Zachary, who works in advertising, said: “It has a beautiful design and the artist is well known. “Once we had got him home from the secret location we popped him on the island in the kitchen and he is still there. “We aim for him to make appearances around Bristol for special occasions.” Zachary was a fan of the Gromit Unleashed trail – and he felt that the auction was a great way to finish things off.

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● CHRISTINE Baxter bought a Gromit with funds which were raised by herself and colleagues at Lloyds Bank in Bristol. The staff decided in July to hold a wide range of fundraising events to collect enough money to bid for one of the statutes. Christine made a successful bid of £18,000 for Why Dog Why? – just under the total amount raised of £19,500. She said: “If we had gone over budget, we would have had to organise some more fundraising events.” Among the events they held were a half-Gromathon, and a Tour-de-Grom where volunteers cycled to 79 dogs – a distance of 91 miles – in one day. Christine said: “Gromit Unleashed captured our imagination because it is a local appeal and it is for the children’s hospital.” The Gromit will go on show at the Lloyds headquarters in the amphitheatre.

● Right, Fred Grainger who bought Steam Dog. Main picture, Graham and Ruth Wadsworth with son Luke


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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Gromit Auction

‘ON BEHALF OF BEAUTIFUL, FRAGILE Bristol Post editor Mike Norton was at the Gromit auction. Here, he explains why.

I

T WAS the hottest ticket in town. And I was there, just three rows from celebrity auctioneer Tim Wonnacott and surrounded by a well-heeled, expectant audience poised to bid for Gromit statues. But all I could think about was Esmee. Esmee is my niece. She’ll be nine on her next birthday. At first glance, Esmee seems quite normal. Her long eyelashes frame beautiful, pale green eyes on her round, pretty face. But Esme’s not normal. And, if you saw her, you would sense it. She’s too still. Looking again, you’d notice that her eyes were open but flickering and strangely unfocussed. In fact, the terrible truth about my niece Esmee Linehan-Brown is that, throughout her nine difficult years, this lovely little girl has been completely immobile. Forget standing or sitting up, Esmee has never even co-ordinated a single movement, never spoken,

● Gromit Lightyear looks over proceedings at the grand auction

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● Eight-year-old Esme has been treated by Bristol Children’s Hospital never shown any sign of understanding. She has never even smiled. She may be able to see and hear. She may be able to understand. Or she may not. Esmee is utterly helpless. But if that wasn’t enough, her real curse is epilepsy. Despite medication, Esmee has fits all the time. Sometimes her fits last for a minute but they can last for days. And when she fits, Esmee’s eyes often seem to show a confused and inconsolable fear. In short, Esmee is one of the most disabled children that Bristol Children’s Hospital has treated. And her patient, loving parents Tim and Lorraine have spent many a vigil alongside their afflicted daughter in a children’s hospital bed. That’s why I thought about Esmee. Because she is the reason I was at the auction.

● Guests queue to enter the marquee at Cribbs Causeway

The hospital has never been able to diagnose what afflicts her. It’s probably a complex combination of neuro and chemical imbalances, beyond the comprehension of even the most modern of medical expertise. But the patient, caring and kind treatment she has always received at the hospital inspired me to agree to become a trustee of the Grand Appeal. And that’s how – before the event started – I found myself in a nervous huddle with fellow trustees Charles

Griffiths and Simon Cooper, daring to speculate on how much the evening might raise. We were joined by appeal director Nicola Masters and I was taken aback at how nervous she was, too, clearly feeling the weight of responsibility for Gromit Unleashed to deliver a significant sum. But none of us had any idea of how much the 92 lots were going to go for. So the sale of the first Gromit – Patch – was nothing short of emo-

● Colin Knowles, Sarah Hitchings, Sir Gromit artist Ian Marlow, Chris Milner

tional. I had expected a tentative start, with bidders finding their feet on the first few statues. How wrong I was. £10,000, £15,000, £25,000, £30,000 ... Tim Wonnacott could barely keep up with the bids as they bounced around the room at breakneck speed. His small wooden gavel, incongruous alongside the state-of-the-art technology that seamlessly integrated local and worldwide bidding, came down on a final bid of £36,000.

It had taken less than two minutes. And, in that short time, we all realised that this was going to be an unforgettable night. And I realised, too, that I had a lump in my throat. I think it was partly relief, partly the sense that Bristol was not going to let us down, and partly because I knew the money would go straight to children like Esmee. The auction passed some mind-boggling milestones.


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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

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The Gromit Auction

ESMEE, THANK YOU ALL...’

● Auctioneer Tim Wonnacott took expert control of proceedings as guests gleefully entered a bidding war, raising more than £2 million in the process

£65,000. Then we hit the two million-pound mark. As the bids got hotter, so did the marquee. Every time I fanned my face with a catalogue, my wife Yvette grabbed my hand and told me off. “He might think you’re bidding,” she chided. Other wives showed much less reticence. Two rows from me, it was the female member of a couple who kept reaching to take the bidding paddle and raise it.

Across the aisle, a team of three women – what looked like three generations – celebrated as they managed to secure a statue. In front of them, another woman was barking impatiently in to a mobile phone as she took instructions on how much she could bid. As well as the competition in the room, we also had the curious experience of being at one remove from the hundreds of faceless bidders competing online. There were times when

the 500 people in the marquee were reduced to mere spectators, listening to Tim Wonnacott’s commentary on the frantic online bidding. And then someone in the room would bid, and we’d all cheer – grateful for the marquee to be involved first-hand again. Of course, the biggest cheers came at the end as we all tried to absorb the realisation that bidders had just spent more than £2.3m on 92 lumps of fibreglass.

Amid the excitement, I thought again about Esmee, so cruelly detached from the world that she will never be able to understand what Gromit Unleashed has achieved. She will never be able to thank Aardman, or the artists, or the sponsors, or the volunteers or the generous bidders who made this historic auction so hugely successful. So I will do it for her. On behalf of my beautiful, fragile niece Esmee, thank you all.

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Nick Park’s Gromit hit £50,000. I could see him from where I was sat. This is a man who has attended the Academy Awards, and left them clutching Oscars. But the excitement and happiness on his face was clear. He looked back at the audience from his front-row seat with a smile as wide as Wallace’s and stood up to applaud the bidder who bought his statue. Then we hit the million-pound mark. Then the Pixar Gromit reached


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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Gromit Auction

‘I THINK A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY WAS MADE IN BRISTOL TONIGHT...’ As the bids rolled in, the team behind Gromit Unleashed could not believe their eyes as the price of sculptures kept rising. Vicki Mathias spoke to an emotional Nicola Masters, director of Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal, after the auction.

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OR one woman, the auction was the emotional culmination of two years of work. Nicola Masters, director of Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal, said: “It was a really emotional night. From the first two going for over £30,000 – more tissues than security were handed out by the security guards after those two. “We were so blown away with those first few. From then on we thought ‘Where is this going?’. We were totting up amounts, working out averages and thinking ‘This is going to surpass our expectations’. When we realised by about halfway that we were going to reach the million mark I think the whole team just collapsed because it had surpassed our expectations. “This has been two years in the planning. These Gromits have been our babies for a long time. To make this is overwhelming. “What an amazing total. I think a little bit of history was made in Bristol tonight – it was extraordinary, £2,357,000 is unbelievable. We are staggered.” Nicola was more than aware of what a gift the charity’s partnership with Aardman is. She said: “How lucky are we to work with Aardman. I will be raising a glass to someone behind the scenes at Aardman – Angie Last. She has been absolutely intrinsic to the whole project from day one. We could not have done it without her. She was part of the original idea. She has been an absolute superstar, and a quiet and humble modest superstar.” With all the money going to buy ground-breaking equipment – including the second paediatric intraoperative MRI scanner in the country – and to enhance Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, Nicola said she is thrilled the auction had gone so far towards the charity’s £3.5 million target. She said: “Everything we do is to make the hospital a better place for sick kids. To be able to contribute this sort of figure to fund fantastic new equipment to support children in hospital is overwhelming.”

“ To be able to

contribute this sort of figure to fund fantastic new equipment to support children in hospital is just overwhelming Nicola Masters

● Above, Nicola Masters is embraced by Gromit’s creator Nick Park on Thursday evening. Below, auctioneer Tim Wonnacott in action at the event


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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Gromit Auction

‘AFTER 20 YEARS IT FELT LIKE I HAD BEEN BUILDING UP TO THIS...’ The Gromit Unleashed auction night was a dream come true for one Gromit superfan. Vicki Mathias spoke to the man whose personal collection tops 6,500 pieces.

● Andrew May, new owner of Newshound, with Nick Park

“ Wallace and Gromit exhibit everything that is charming about Britain and their allegiance with the children’s charity makes it even more special

especially for Thursday’s auction, wearing a Gromit pin badge for the occasion. He said: “I never thought I would be able to afford this one, but it was at the top of my list. It was emotionally charged. I was absolutely delighted and I think Nick was too because he gave me a hug when I met him on the way out to pay. He came around to the back to congratulate me.” Gromit’s creator met Mr May at one of the Greatest Dog Show on Earth exhibition previews and is aware of his cracking collection. Mr May said: “There are many Gromits I would have been delighted to have, including Newfoundland and Joanna Lumley’s Poetry In Motion. But I have lost a bedroom and gained a newsroom.” Mr May said it is the Aardman characters’ British charm that he particularly likes. He said: “Wallace and Gromit exhibit everything that is charming about Britain, and their allegiance with the children’s charity makes it even more special. I went out on the Gromit trail and the auction was my fourth visit to Bristol this year, especially for this and to meet the hard-working people at Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal.”

Andrew May

W

ALLACE and Gromit superfan Andrew May has now got his hands on the biggest item of his collection. He has been collecting pieces featuring the clay creations for 20 years and already had a treasure trove of more than 6,500 items. But after the launch of Gromit Unleashed Mr May set his heart on a giant Gromit to add to the haul. And he was thrilled to be the successful bidder who got his hands on Nick Park’s Newshound sculpture – the only one to feature Wallace as well as his trusty sidekick. Mr May said: “I have been a Wallace and Gromit collector for 20 years and it felt like it has all been building to this. I have got more than 6,500 items from all around the world, from as small as cereal toys to watercolours by Nick himself.” Mr May said he had set himself a limit for the auction and did not believe he would even get a look in when it came to Mr Park’s sculpture. Mr May made the trip to Bristol

I’d go and make sure people were treating him well Aardman co-founder Peter Lord tells Vicki Mathias that seeing his Gromit sculpture sold to a new owner was not dissimilar to watching a child grow up and leave home.

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T

HE man behind Morph, Chicken Run and The Pirates! is a patron and trustee of Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal – and he took part in Gromit Unleashed by decorating a sculpture for the trail. His pirate-inspired Salty Sea Dog sold to an online bidder during Thursday’s auction, fetching £32,000 for the children’s hospital charity. Mr Lord was bowled over by the buzz of Gromit Unleashed, which

used fellow patron Nick Park’s character as a blank canvas for a host of artists. Mr Lord said: “I did not anticipate how much excitement there would be. I did not realise what a buzz there would be in the room when they started to sell these things. It was amazing. It was slightly shocking.” He said he had paid visits to his Gromit, which was located near the Cascade Steps in the city centre for the summer, just to make sure he was

● Peter Lord with Salty Sea Dog, and making a speech at the Gromit Unleashed auction being looked after. Mr Lord said: “I spent so long working with him, living with him, and caring about him on the streets. “I was very worried about him and would go round making sure people were treating him well. It is like he

has suddenly grown up and left home and is not mine any more. But I am sure he has gone to a good home. “It went beyond all our expectations. It was fun to see all the pleasure it gave people, to walk around Bristol and see people busy and chatting –

parents dragging their kids and kids dragging parents to go and see them. Everyone – all generations – was interested to be out on the streets, and witnessing that was a huge pleasure. I met some of the artists who were all lovely people. It seems that this was the most generous project.” Although he admitted that the technical specification of the kit the money would be funding is not his area of expertise, he was impressed by the impact it will have for the hospital. Mr Lord said: “It is absolutely fantastic. That is what we have been doing for nearly 20 years – raising money for charity. It is terribly gratifying. I do not know what it will mean exactly but I think it is really going to make a difference.” Fellow Aardman founder and Grand Appeal patron David Sproxton also put his mark on a Gromit sculpture for the project – albeit on a smaller scale. He decorated one of the smaller Gromits, which were sold after the 5ft statues at Thursday’s auction. His Gromit – Franz – was inspired by the study of phrenology, which focuses on measurements of the brain. It sold for £12,000 to an online bidder.


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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

13

The Gromit Auction

‘I STARTED TO GET A TINGLING ... RIGHT UP THE BACK OF MY NECK’ For Nick Park, the success of Gromit Unleashed has been a surprise almost from the very start. Vicki Mathias reports.

T

HE character he created at college had already become a global brand – but the modest animator still could not imagine that artists would be willing to use Gromit as a canvas, that giant sculptures of the pooch would take Bristol by storm over the summer or that they would not only pass the £1 million mark but the £2 million mark when they went under the hammer. As with his colleagues at Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal, charity patron Nick Park did not dare to imagine how much the decorated dogs would sell for. And sitting in the auction room last Thursday he could not believe what he was witnessing as the figures climbed. He said: “I do not know what I was thinking. I was too afraid to guess what the Gromits might get, what amounts they might raise. “And to see the first one starting to climb to £36,000 – I started to get a tingling ... right up the back of my neck. And I thought ‘What have we got here? What is this going to be by the end of the evening?’. “I was gobsmacked by how high people were prepared to climb. A lot of people came with such a generous spirit. It is definitely the children’s hospital, that is the main reason. Gromit is the canvas.” And that has been the reaction of the Grand Appeal patron throughout the popular project. Despite the success of his character Gromit, Mr Park believes it is the fondness people have for Bristol Royal Hospital for Children that has led to people getting swept up in Gromit Unleashed fever. He said: “It is such a privilege to be involved in such a fantastic cause in Bristol for such a state-of-the-art children’s hospital, something that is so

● Nick Park with some of the smaller Gromits which were auctioned last Thursday valuable to Bristol. Seeing my dog up there doing his thing, I could not believe it. He is doing well. I feel very proud of him. It has been phenomenal. I was amazed that there was such a lot of excitement – and I have not even made a film.” Mr Park said that despite the long association with the Grand Appeal, Wallace’s sidekick seems to have become more of a figurehead for the charity through Gromit Unleashed. Oscar-winning Mr Park said: “Gromit has been involved for 18 years but

the fact it has come to this is lovely. Throughout the summer the feeling of warmth towards Gromit has been wonderful – and that is because of what it is for. “The way all these different artists responded without any question – they said yes at the drop of a hat. Harry Hill, Joanna Lumley, Gerald Scarfe – the list goes on. Some had put in such a lot of time and effort. “It is so unreal to me. It shows me how much people know Gromit and how much he has become a house-

hold name. To see kids coming up to him and saying ‘Gromit!’ was very gratifying.” Mr Park also got caught up in the atmosphere of the auction room and bid on a few of the Gromit sculptures, although was overtaken by the really serious bidders on several occasions. He said: “I bid on a couple but they shot up higher than I was prepared for. Quite often they were up at £16,000/£20,000 in the blink of an eye and then kept climbing.

“I wanted to bid on the Simon Tofield Gromit and Quentin Blake’s but they just shot up so high so quickly, I got left behind really.” Mr Park walked away from the auction with one memento of Gromit Unleashed. He said: “I did buy one, but one of the mini Gromits – one of the prizewinning ones (Lytham St Annes Gromit). “I seized on it because I am from that area. I will probably donate it to a school up there.”

Gromit, meet Gorilla, says uni

Little dog’s large price

● ONE of the Gromits was bought by the University of Bristol and will be on show to staff, students and visitors. Professor David Clarke, deputy vice chancellor, made a successful £20,000 bid for Bark At Ee. He said the location had yet to be decided but the Gromit could be in one of the university’s libraries or in the foyer of the new students’ union. He said: “We have a commitment to public art in the city and buying a Gromit was part of that commitment.” In 2011, Professor Clarke bid successfully for a gorilla which takes pride of place in the university’s arts and social-sciences library.

● THERE was a particularly loud round of applause when the hammer went down on the last Gromit of the night – a smaller sculpture decorated by patients at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. The winning bid of £21,000 – more than some of the bigger Gromits fetched on the night – was made by Wessex Garages. Steve Patch, director of Wessex Garages on Pennywell Road and Feeder Road, said the aim is to put the pooch on display in the company’s showroom planned for Cribbs Causeway for 2015 after touring the firm’s other branches. He said: “We are thrilled that we have our own Gromit. The hospital is a worthy cause and we are delighted we could help them.”


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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

15

The Gromit Auction It’s no secret where 81st dog is now homed

● Charlie Langhorne, director of Wild In Art, delivering one of the plain Gromit figures back in February

‘Smile factor’ helped ensure Gromit auction raised £2.3m

● Tracey Phillips, Bryony Strachan and William Booth with the card

Thanks so much for our cracking Gromit arts trail ^pjrp Uh{ophz

Health reporter vicki.mathias@b-nm.co.uk

S

TAFF at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children were so thrilled with the impact of Gromit Unleashed that they turned up to the charity auction with a thank-you card for the team behind the project. The card – featuring Gromit, the handprints of patients, and lots of glitter – was made by youngsters in the hospital’s play centre. It included messages to Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal from patients and staff. The hospital will benefit from more than £2 million raised through the auction, which will pay for state-of-the art-equipment. Hospital clinical chairman Bryony Strachan said: “It has been absolutely fantastic and there has been a real buzz about Gromit Un-

leashed. When you have people from Pixar and Toy Story saying this is the best children’s hospital in the world it is really great. “We are bringing in fantastic services from north Bristol to make one of the best children’s hospitals in Europe – and why not the world? There has been a real buzz in the city and this has taken on a life of its own.” Dr Strachan said she wanted to present the team behind Gromit Unleashed with a card to thank everyone involved for the wonderful summer they brought to the city and the difference the money will make to young patients. She said: “We went around with the card asking what the Gromits had meant to everyone. “As my niece said, they are great because you see one and it makes you smile. “They have been fabulous and a lot of staff have caught the Gromit bug. There has been such a great feeling.”

GROMIT Unleashed was not the first arts trail of its kind – but it has brought in more money than any other before. Wild In Art, which worked in partnership with Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal and Aardman on the project, has been involved in arts trails in cities and towns across the country since 2007. But Wild In Art director Charlie Langhorne said that Gromit Unleashed has smashed the highest totals raised through previous auctions. He said: “It is absolutely extraordinary. “This is the highest amount a trail has raised and the highest amount a sculpture has raised.” On the same night that the Gromit Unleashed auction raised some

£2.3 million for Bristol Royal Hospital for Children’s charity the Grand Appeal, an auction of 53 gorillas in Norwich raised £272,300 for Norfolk charities. It follows Bristol Zoo’s successful Wow! Gorillas project, which took the city by storm in 2011 and raised £427,000 towards conservation projects. Mr Langhorne said: “We have had the opportunity to work with many events and in total the amount raised reflects not only the enduring power of Gromit but also the enormous amount of work done by Nicola, Lauren and Sarah at the Grand Appeal. “What it boils down to is it makes someone smile. On the back of that smile, you have got the economic benefits to the charity.”

● INSPIRED by an old-fashioned suitcase, Grom Voyage – the secret 81st sculpture – seemed the perfect addition to an Easter Compton travel firm. C the World director Carolyn Park made a successful bid of £20,000 for the travelthemed VisitEngland Gromit with a little help from her friend Adrian Kidd. She arrived at the auction with the hope of walking away with either Grom Voyage or Newfoundland as she felt they were both fitting for her travel firm. Miss Park said: “We are hoping he is going to live in the office – although we have got to work out how we are going to get him through the door first. He is going to dominate the office – it is not the largest of spaces. “My Jack Russell Lulu is going to have competition for top dog now. “I hope a few people will come down and meet him. He was only on show at the exhibition so a lot of people will not have seen him. “The auction was amazing. The atmosphere was fantastic – very tense. I could not believe the price the first couple of lots went for. “The amount of money raised was phenomenal.”

Sheepdog set to ‘come-bye’ all of university’s campuses A GROMIT sculpture is set to go on tour after it was sold to one of the city’s universities. University of the West of England Bristol bought Sheepdog – which was designed by Richard Starzak, director of Shaun The Sheep – and now there are plans for the 5ft sculpture to visit all of the UWE campuses. The university had hoped to purchase Paisley, which was designed by one of its students, Nia Samuel Johnson, but failed to win the bidding for it. But it made a successful bid of £23,000 for Sheepdog. UWE vice chancellor Professor Steve West said: “We have close relationships with Aardman and with Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and we took the view that it would be good to cement these relationships by helping to keep a Gromit in Bristol. “Aardman have been one of the longest-standing industrial and cul-

tural partners of UWE Bristol, with many of our staff, students and alumni working on their award-winning features and commercials. “We will tour the UWE Gromit around all of the UWE campuses, most probably he will be sited in the campus libraries, but this is yet to be determined. He will ultimately be housed at a yet-tobe-agreed location on the Frenchay campus. “We think Gromit will appeal to international students and the phenomenon of Gromit Unleashed is a legacy that we are extremely proud to show a strong connection with.” Keith Hicks, UWE’s director of communications, was at the auction. He said: “We were seeking to buy Paisley but bids went sky high and we had to up our original budget. It was nail-biting until the last moment as we were lucky to win the 79th out of 81 bids.”

● Middleton Mobility bought Oops A Daisy for £22,000

Grassy Gromit puts down roots ● GARDEN designer Diarmuid Gavin’s Oops A Daisy, which spent the summer at Tyntesfield, is set to remain in Bristol. The 5ft Gromit covered in artificial grass and daisies was purchased by Middleton Mobility and will go on display in their Bishopsworth showroom. Middleton’s directors Ricky Towler and Tom Powell attended Thursday’s auction and bought the Gromit for £22,000. They said: “We felt that the Gromit Unleashed trail was so popular and created such a positive feeling for the people of Bristol over the summer, and we wanted to make sure that one of the Gromits stayed in Bristol where he belongs. It is all for such a fantastic cause.”


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THE MAGNIFICENT 80


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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Gromit Auction...

1. Patch by Emily Golden

5. Gromitasaurus by Huncan Daskell

£36,000

£24,000

2. Grant’s Gromit by Rosie Ashforth

£36,000

3. Fish Tales by Jeremy Wade

£24,000

7. Lancelot by Sir Paul Smith

£26,000

10. The Snow Dog by Raymond Briggs

£32,000

11. Hound Dog by Sir Peter Blake

£22,000

£28,000

4. Five A Day Dog by Laura Cramer

8. Blossom by Emily Ketteringham

12. Collarfull by Hannah Cumming

£22,000

£24,000

£22,000

£20,000

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6. Zodiac by Inkie

9. Canis Major by Katy Christianson


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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

19

...and here’s what they all went for

13. Why Dog, Why? by Mark Titchner

£18,000

17. Carosello by Giuliano Carapia

£16,000

21. Bumble Boogie by Jools Holland OBE DL

£20,000

22. May Contain Nuts (& Bolts) by Natalie Guy 14. Sugar Plum by Celia Birtwell CBE

£22,000

18. The Secret Garden by Sarah-Jane Grace

£44,000

£30,000

15. Dog Rose by Ros Franklin

19. Butterfly by Philip Treacy OBE

23. aMazing Gromit! by Tom Berry

£20,000

£20,000

£24,000

16. Salty Sea Dog by Peter Lord CBE

20. Bark At Ee by Leigh Flurry

£32,000

£20,000

24. It’s Kraken, Gromit! by Filthy Luker EPB-E01-S5

£18,000


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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Gromit Auction

25. Lodekka by Ignition DG

£28,000

29. Doodles by Simon Tofield

26. Roger by Richard Williams

30. Malago by Dan Collings

£29,000

27. Astro by Ignition DG

£21,000

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£28,000

£34,000

34. The King by Stephen McKay

£25,000

£24,000

31. Creature Comforts by Sneaky Raccoon

£19,000

28. Gromit-O-Matic by Donough O’Malley

£26,000

33. Sir Gromit of Bristol by Ian Marlow

32. Bushed by David Inshaw

£24,000

35. Gromberry by Simon Tozer

£32,000

36. Ship Shape & Bristol Fashion by Sarah Matthews

£26,000


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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Gromit Auction

37. Jack by Martin Band

£36,000

45. Watch Out, Gromit! by Gerald Scarfe CBE 41. A Mandrill’s Best Friend by Vivi Cuevas

£18,000

46. Harmony by Marie Simpson

38. Poochadelic by Lisa Hassell

£25,000

39. Bristol Bulldog by Dan Shearn

£26,000

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40. The Green Gromit by Zayn Malik

£26,000

£50,000

42. Hero Tom Deams

£26,000

43. Grosmos by Cheba

£28,000

£23,000

47. Paisley by Nia Samuel-Johnson

£21,000

44. Stat’s The Way by Gavin Strange

£29,000

48. Vincent van Gromit by Laura Cramer

£25,000


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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

25

The Gromit Auction

49. Antique Rose by Cath Kidston MBE

53. Oops A Daisy by Diarmuid Gavin

£30,000

£22,000

50. Steam Dog by Dan Shearn

54. Golden Gromit by Julie Vernon

£26,000

£30,000

57. Nezahualcoyotl by Joseph Dunmore

£20,000

58. NewFoundLand by One Red Shoe

£30,000

59. Gromit by Jane Kite 51. Blazing Saddles by Carys Tait

£21,000

52. Bunty by Paula Bowles

£31,000

55. Newshound by Nick Park CBE

£50,000

56. The Wild West by Amy Timms

£22,000

£35,000

60. Feathers by Dave Bain

£25,000


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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Gromit Auction

61. Where’s Wallace? by Martin Handford

£30,000

62. Isambark Kingdog Brunel by Tim Miness

£36,000

63. Groscar by Chris Taylor

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£28,000

64. Being Gromit Malkovich Thomas Dowdeswell

£21,000

65. Gromit Lightyear by Pixar

£65,000

66. Fiesta by Lindsay McBirnie

£28,000

67. Grrrrromit by Carys Tait

£26,000

68. The Gromalo by Axel Scheffler

£26,000

69. National Treasure by the Royal Mint

£28,000

70. Eldoradog by Seb Burnett

£28,000

71. Grom Voyage! by Vivi Cuevas

£20,000

72. Two Eds Better Than One by Peter Brookes

£23,000


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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

29

The Gromit Auction

73. Hullaballoon by Monster Riot

£26,000

74. Gnashional Gromit by The Beano

£28,000

77. A Close Shave by Harry Hill

£24,000

78. Gizmo by Sir Quentin Blake

£32,000

75. TutanGromit I by Dale Evans

79. Sheepdog by Richard Starzak

£24,000

£23,000

76. Poetry In Motion by Joanna Lumley OBE

£35,000

81. A Grand Day Out by Andy O’Rourke

£24,000

82. Franz by David Sproxton CBE

£12,000

83. Bromit by Beto Cuevas

£14,000

80. What A Wind Up! by Trevor Baylis OBE

84. Bristol Gromit by Tom Sheedy

£25,000

£19,000


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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Gromit Auction 85. Countryside Gromit by Peter Plested

£12,000 89. North East Gromit by Nicola Maybury

£14,000

86. London Gromit by Samuel Hayward

£14,000 90. Lytham St Annes Gromit by Joanne Edwards

£15,000

87. York Gromit by Jennifer Owen

£15,000 91. Blackpool Gromit by Lesley Archer

£13,000 88. Seaside Gromit by Rob Gillet

£17,000

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92. Bristol Children’s Hospital Gromit by patients of Bristol Children’s Hospital

£21,000


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The Great Gromit Auction Bristol Post 09 October 2013