Many years ago the team who were fundraising to build a new children’s hospital in Bristol came to Aardman and asked if we might create them a new character to front the fundraising campaign. Nick offered them Wallace and Gromit, and that’s where it all began.
Nick, Pete and Dave have all been involved with ‘The Grand Appeal’ and the national charity ‘Wallace and Gromit’s Children’s Charity’ throughout its 20 year evolving life, each offering their different skills to the group of trustees. Staff at Aardman are encouraged to support the annual ‘Wrong Trousers Day’ and many fundraise independently for the charity.
What started as a building project, has evolved into a charity that funds life-saving pioneering, specialist medical equipment to help save the lives of babies and children in the children’s hospital in Bristol alongside creative programmes to enhance a child’s stay in hospital. Alongside this, there is an annual grant-giving day, when children’s hospitals and hospices can apply for funds from the national fundraising.
When the new project ‘Cots for Tots’ was being launched by the Grand Appeal for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St Michael’s Hospital, a softer younger image was needed and Nick created the new logo using a younger Gromit.
During the summer of 2018 fans from across the world descended on Bristol for the second Gromit Unleashed trail, organised by our friends at The Grand Appeal, The Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity. Over 60 giant sculptures were displayed across the city, including Wallace and Feathers McGraw sculptures too. For this trail there were some truly trail-blazing sculptures to seek out, including the interactive ‘Gromitronic’ with its wagging tail and moving eyes, and ‘Gromjet’, a turbo-charged sculpture created engineered by Rolls-Royce and able to lift off the ground! The trail also featured designs by LEGO, Pixar Animation Studios and Illumination (creators of Minions). The trail concluded with an auction raising a fantastic £1.62 million for Bristol Children’s Hospital, bringing the total raised from Gromit Unleashed 2 to an astounding £2 million.
In the summer of 2015, we repeated the same idea using the Aardman character Shaun the Sheep in the project ‘Shaun in the City’. The trail has been extended to include 120 sculptures across both Bristol and London. On October 8th 2015 the auction of the 120 Shaun's raised over £1 million.