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Preston Says "cracking Statue, Gromit!" As Plans Are Unveiled...

Preston could become the permanent home of Wallace and Gromit with a life size statue of the Oscar® winning pair in the city.

Swapping plasticine for bronze, Wallace and Gromit creator and Honorary Freeman of Preston, Nick Park, is currently working on statue designs for the city – which subject to funding being agreed could be located in Preston by the end of 2008.

Commenting on such a statue, Nick Park said:
"This is a really exciting project and I'm delighted to be working on the designs for a Wallace and Gromit statue in Preston. As a Prestonian myself it would be a wonderful honour to have a statue to Wallace and Gromit in my home city."

The statue was also welcomed by Councillor Ken Hudson, Leader of the Council and Chair of the City Centre Committee who said:
"We’ve seen how such statues and public art can create an excitement and boost for an area with for example the Sir Tom Finney splash statue at Preston North End and the Eric Morecambe statue in Morecambe. We think a Wallace and Gromit statue could have a similar effect and we will be working hard to secure the £100,000 funding for it. The statue is being personally designed by Nick Park so hopefully there will be a lot of interest in it and we can get private sponsorship to help with the overall costs."

Bryn Jones from City Brand – a part of Preston’s University of Central Lancashire that’s been working on developing innovative and creative projects for Preston added:
"The Wallace and Gromit statue as part of a city centre "walk around museum" is one of the most important and exciting projects we’ve been working on. It would be a tremendous boost for the city and with its friendly and welcoming intention, a wonderful way of improving an important gateway into the city. Wallace and Gromit are famous all over the world so we would be very proud if the first ever statue to the Oscar® winners was to be located right here in Preston."

The City Council and Aardman are jointly contributing to the design stage but the Wallace and Gromit statue has already received a boost with news that the Preston Tithebarn Partnership, the joint venture between Grosvenor and Lend Lease which is developing the Tithebarn project in Preston City Centre, are to put £20,000 into the statue.
Anthony Gill, speaking on behalf of the Preston Tithebarn Partnership, said:
"Wallace and Gromit have universal appeal and a unique connection with Preston. This statue would be a wonderful addition to the city and will become an attraction in its own right."

Fun Facts:

∙ Nick Park was born in Preston in 1958
∙ He grew up in Walmer Bridge and attended St Oswald's Primary School and Cuthbert Mayne High School (now Our Lady's Catholic High School)
∙ He was made an Honorary Freeman of Preston in October 1997