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Sponsor a Gruffalo and be a part of a global phenomenon

To celebrate the Horsham District Year of Culture 2019 patron, the children’s author Julia Donaldson MBE, writer of The Gruffalo, organisers will be sending 20 Gruffalo soft toys on a worldwide journey during 2019 – but they need human help.

The 20 Gruffalo toys, each individually identifiable by their bespoke labels, will set off on their journey in January 2019; but for them to get going, each one will need a sponsor. So far, eight have been sponsored, which leaves just 12 waiting.

The premise of Global Gruffalo is straightforward – receive the Gruffalo, take a photo of yourself and the toy and upload to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram via @GlobalGruffalo, or using the #GlobalGruffalo, saying where you are in the world, then pass him on to someone else to do the same – with the aim to get all of them home to Horsham for December 2019, to be part of an exhibition at Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens during 2020.

For a bit more fun, you can also visit the Global Gruffalo website, where you can fill in a postcard with some more information and view a map where you’ll be able to see where your Gruffalo has been and where others are visiting.

Horsham District Council Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Cllr Jonathan Chowen, said: “It cannot be underplayed just how important this project is to the Year of Culture. By working with Magic Light, we are shining a spotlight on our District, and, in creating this incredible project, our District will be linked with a world renowned character.

“This project is a brilliant way of collaborating with our Horsham District resident and Patron to the Year of Culture, Julia Donaldson MBE, in the year that her wonderful book, The Gruffalo, celebrates its 20th year since publication.

“It’s also a great analogy for our Year of Culture in 2019, the Gruffalo going out to the four corners of the globe, linking everyone to the United Kingdom and the Horsham District in particular. Plus, let’s face it, it’ll be a fun project to be involved with!”

Sponsors will need to be on social media, and will be encouraged to look after their Gruffalo, either by ensuring the toy gets moved on, or by encouraging others to share its whereabouts or take them away somewhere.

Plans already coming forward include aiming for the most travelled with Gatwick Airport, visiting Peru with Jodie Kidd and Chestnut Tree Hospice, crushing grapes at the Benguela Cove vineyard in South Africa, checking out the sites with Saxon Weald, and visiting all the primary schools in the District with the help of Swan Walk Shopping Centre.

The project is being led by the Year of Culture team, working closely with Magic Light Pictures and Julia Donaldson MBE.

Inspired? If you’re interested in sponsoring a Gruffalo, please email yearofculture2019@horsham.gov.uk or call 01403 215060.

Picture: Julia Donaldson MBE on stage with her Gruffalo at the Steyning Festival

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