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.
In 2013, The Grand Appeal and Aardman worked very closely to create Gromit Unleashed, a high profile large scale fundraising project of 80 5ft sculptures that were painted or decorated by different artists and placed around the city as an arts trail. Nick contacted artist friends and colleagues and invited them to be involved with the project, as well as many artists submitting designs. The project ended with a great auction that raised £2.35 million for the charity and the children’s hospital.
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.