Twenty Gruffalo toys, sponsored by a range of local businesses have began their journey across the world celebrating the 20th anniversary of the hugely popular Gruffalo story written by Horsham District resident Julia Donaldson CBE.
The toys are part of a project called Global Gruffalo, and were handed to their sponsors at a launch on Thursday January 10th at Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens in Lower Beeding. Pupils from Holy Trinity CEP school were also there, treated to a performance of The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson CBE herself and some special guests.
The concept behind Global Gruffalo is very simple and the hope is that many, if not all, of these little characters collect some serious air miles and make lots of new friends on their trips. Each sponsor is now busy packing his little bag and just has 2 easy steps to follow:
1-Take a picture of your Gruffalo wherever you are in the World and upload it to the website www.globalgruffalo.co.uk or add it to social media via @GlobalGruffalo #GlobalGruffalo
2-Give him to someone else to do the same!
The plan is then to have all 20 safely returned at the end of the year, fresh from 12 months of adventure, to Horsham where they will feature in a year long exhibition at Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens during 2020 where people will be able to see the toys and learn about their travels.
Many sponsors have exciting plans for their Gruffalo, one is heading to Peru with actress Jodie Kidd and Chestnut Treehouse Hospice, another looks to sample some wine in South Africa with its friends from Leonardslee Lake and Gardens. Steve from Saxon Weald plans to let his Gruffalo join in with a trip to Seville, Joanna Green at Creative Assembly is getting her Gruffalo on a plane to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sofia whilst entertainer Tomfoolery will be letting his toy enjoy some skiing in Austria before he jets of to Norway for some Nordic excitement. Rachel and Elena at Creative Technology are likely to have their little companion fly out to the Middle East and The USA. We may also see him appear at some music festivals around the world!
Nigel Jupp, Horsham District Council Deputy Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure is looking forward to what happens with The Gruffalo toys and said, “Firstly, my thanks to Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens for providing such a magnificent venue for our launch event. It was extremely exciting to get together with all the sponsors in advance of them sending their individual Gruffalos off on their travels around the world and to give them the opportunity of meeting our Horsham District Year of Culture 2019 Patron Julia Donaldson CBE. It was very fitting for the Gruffalo launch to be one of the first major events to kick start our Year of Culture, giving an international flavour to our year-long celebrations and providing local businesses with a unique way of promoting themselves on a global scale”
Author of The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson said, “Global Gruffalo is such a fun way of promoting the Horsham District Year of Culture 2019 and celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Gruffalo. I can’t wait to see where they end up!”
Sponsors taking part and giving their little Friends a year of excitement are:
Gatwick Airport, Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens, Magic Light Pictures, Macmillan Children’s Books, Swan Walk Shopping Centre, Chestnut Treehouse Hospice, Saxon Weald, Foresters Friendly Society, Forestry Commission, Travel Counsellors, Creative Technology, The Capitol Horsham, Horsham Rotary Club, Brock Taylor, Global Financial, By Jove Media, Tomfoolery, Horsham District Council and Creative Assembly.
Check the social media pages and website for updates throughout the year to see what exciting adventure each toy is on!