The region’s biggest bus company, Go North East, is putting its full support behind a charitable-initiative led by regional hospice St Oswald’s, by placing a dog on its Great North Snowdogs trail.
Running from 19 September 2016, for 10 weeks, a series of 61 big and 97 little Snowdogs, based on the beloved 2012 Christmas movie The Snowman™ and the Snowdog, will line the route of a public walking trail covering Tyne and Wear in regional streets, parks and venues.
Go North East is one of 50 local businesses that will have a 1.5m tall ceramic dog on the trail, to help fundraise for the initiative. A pack of little Snowdog sculptures, designed by local school children, will also be exhibited. Opting for ‘Snowdog Springtime’ a white canine adorned with red hearts, daisies and green leaves, it is the only design by British actress and comedienne, Joanna Lumley and can be visited at Gateshead’s Saltwell Park.
Organisers of the mass-participation free public art and cultural event, hope the temporary attraction will drive visitors to the region and encourage local people to become ‘tourists in their own city’, by discovering and walking the route using the trail map and dedicated app.
In December when the exhibition closes, the Snowdog sculptures will be auctioned at a charity event, to raise much-needed funds for St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice.
Stephen King, head of marketing and retail at Go North East, explained: “We’re excited to be part of such a bold and engaging initiative, which will not only help raise funds for the fantastic St Oswald’s, but encourage people to discover more of their local area. With the dogs taking pride of place in locations throughout Tyne and Wear, jumping on one of our buses is a great way to get around the area and see the dogs in all their glory.
“Our Snowdog Springtime dog, designed by the incredibly talented Joanna Lumley, will be featured at Saltwell Park and we’re sure it will draw in the crowds over the coming months.”
Jane Hogan, Great North Snowdogs project lead said: “We were delighted when Go North East signed up as a Snowdog sponsor and we think they made an Absolutely Fabulous decision in choosing Joanna Lumley’s ‘Snowdog Springtime’ design! Its location in Saltwell Park should prove really popular with people of all ages.
“Our trail is now open and we have had such a wonderful response from the people of the north east already. As well as raising vital funds for St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice we hope our Snowdogs will bring a smile to the faces of those who spot them, as the winter weather sets in.”