Dog on the Tyne is all mine
Published on: 31 Oct 2013
RAINBOW-STRIPED Roger brought crowds to Staple Hill in the summer – but few realised that the area had another link with Bristol’s spectacularly successful Gromit festival.
Local mum Nicola Maybury was a winner in a design-a-Gromit competition organised by Visit England and had the thrill of seeing her ideas brought to life ready for what was billed as The Greatest Dog Show on Earth.
The contest was for designs embodying favourite places in England. Nicola is from a town called Washington in Tyne & Wear and retains strong links with the North East of England, where her family live.
Her North East Gromit, featuring Geordie landmarks such as the Tyne Bridge and the Angel of the North, was painted on to a Gromit ‘pup’ that went on display at the Newcastle Gateshead Visitor Centre in August before being brought to Bristol to go on show alongside the other five competition winners and the 81 hounds that made up the trail.
Nicola was invited to a private viewing of the Gromit exhibition in the former Habitat store ar the top of Park Street and was able to see her North East Gromit “in the flesh” for the first time
She said: “The evening was wonderful and we got to spend lots of time looking round the exhibition, listening to a presentation by Nick Park and Gavin Strange, of Aardman Animations, and of course seeing North East Gromit, which was on display in the window of the exhibition. “
The only downside was that she could not take her three children, Sam, Archie and Elizabeth with her because the evening event was for over 16s only. “They were all desperate to see North East Gromit so we had to spend six hours queuing the following day (Saturday) so that they too could see the exhibition and North East Gromit. It was exhausting but they were very well behaved and all thought the wait was worth it!”
The family followed the auction night and watched as Gromit after Gromit sold for astounding amounts of money.
Nicola said: “I had planned on bidding a few hundred pounds on North East Gromit but when the opening bid was £10,000, I just sat back and watched in amazement. North East Gromit sold for £14,000! I was absolutely thrilled that my creation had raised so much money for the Bristol Children’s Hospital.”
As yet, the buyer of North East Gromit has not been revealed. Following Nicola’s competition success, her son’s class teacher at Christ Church Juniors in Downend, Mrs Knott, encouraged children to come up with their own Gromit designs, which are on display at the school.
“The whole experience was such a fantastic thing to be part of,” said Nicola.