Gromit watches over the new-look square

August 03 2013

VISITORS to Staple Hill recently could be forgiven for thinking they’d stumbled upon a royal visitor.

gromit opening

VISITORS to Staple Hill recently could be forgiven for thinking they’d stumbled upon a royal visitor.

After all, who else could possibly cause the level of excitement witnessed at Fountain Square last month?

But, no Kate and Wills hadn’t decided to pop into the Blue Sky Cafe for a sandwich - the cause of all this mayhem was none other than a rainbow-adorned sculpture of Gromit, the famous animated dog.

The 5ft statue is one of 80 models which are scattered around Bristol as part of the Gromit Unleashed trail, in aid of Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal to raise £3.5 million for Bristol Children’s Hospital.

The colourful striped Gromit was unveiled on July 1 during a special event which celebrated the refurbishment of the square.

Crowds were entertained by South Gloucestershire’s town crier, David Fry, the Westerly Showband, and bagpipe musician Alan McKellar from the City of Bristol Pipe Band.

There was also a display of Morris dancing performed by pupils from Staple Hill Primary School.

Youngsters flocked to have their photographs taken with Gromit whilst mums and dads enjoyed the new-look square.

South Gloucestershire chairman Ian Boulton attended the event along with fellow Staple Hill councillor Shirley Potts.

Cllr Potts said: “We are delighted this celebration has been held with the arrival of Gromit.

“Gromit has been sponsored by Frank from Top to Bottom who wanted to ensure Staple Hill remains vibrant and alive.

“The refurbishment is very good news for Staple Hill. People wanted the renovation of the square to be a community space and we now have that space. It was designed with the help of local people and financed through Staple Hill’s Regeneration Partnership.

“The square is cleaner and tidier and provides a community space for all ages and a podium where local groups and individuals can perform.

“This is the best the town centre has ever looked.”

Cllr Potts said she hoped future funding would cover the cost of a symbolic fountain for the square.

Terry Sheen, president of Staple Hill’s Chamber of Trade, said: “We hope people will enjoy the improvements to the square.

“Hopefully Gromit will attract people from all over Bristol to one of the few surviving shopping areas which has over 150 shops.”

Staple Hill’s Gromit was designed and decorated by the animation director of Disney’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Richard Williams.

Like the rest of the city’s sculptures, Gromit will remain on display until Saturday September 7 before being auctioned off in aid of the Grand Appeal.

Downend Voice would love to see your photos of you with Staple Hill’s Gromit. We will endeavour to publish all submitted pics.  Please email your photos to