The Great North Snowdogs trail will run across the region from 19 September to 29 November, the largest initiative of its kind ever to take place in the North East.
Sixty, 1.5m high sculptures, inspired by Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman and The Snowdog will be in place in key locations, each uniquely decorated by professional artists and celebrities.
And to ensure that Sunderland plays a massive part in the initiative – which has been organised to raise funds for St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice – leading companies and organisations in the city have pledged their support.
Sunderland BID, Healthy High Streets, the Bridges, SAFC, Gentoo, Nexus, Primary Times, Stagecoach, The Galleries and children’s heart charity CHUF are all sponsoring dogs, with 13 large Snowdogs set to be placed in key locations around the area.
They include Park Lane, the Bridges, the National Glass Centre, SAFC, Market Square, Keel Square, Sunniside and at the Minster, with a number of smaller dogs also set to take up residence around Sunderland as part of a mini dog trail.
There will also be two large Snowdogs in Washington and one at the sea front in Sunderland.
Although the designs are being kept under wraps at present, the promise is that visitors will be delighted by the designs on all of the dogs.
“This is such an important event for the region and it’s a great opportunity for the thousands of anticipated visitors to see Sunderland and the many positive changes that are taking place here,” said Ken Dunbar, Chief Executive of Sunderland BID.
“It will provide a huge boost for the local economy and we hope that all the city businesses will get fully behind the trail and make the most of the increased footfall.”
His words were echoed by Michelle Meldrum, Executive Director (Operations), Gentoo.
“Gentoo is thrilled to part of the Great North Snowdogs. Sunderland is a vibrant city, full of history and culture and it is great to be working alongside other local businesses to encourage people to come and visit,” she said.
“It is vitally important that our current and future generations engage in arts and culture. The smaller Snowdogs are a great way for us to work with the local community and get young people involved in using creativity as a learning tool.
“This is all in aid of an excellent cause and I would encourage families, members of the community and our customers to visit the trail when it’s launched later this year.”
Sam Czwordon-Wright, Marketing Manager at the Bridges added: “The Great North Snowdogs Trail is going to be absolutely incredible for the North East and it’s great to see that many Sunderland businesses have sponsored dogs too.”
“The designs on the Sunderland dogs are all fantastic and are sure to draw plenty of attention.”
The Great North Snowdogs will be launching a trail map and a specially designed app which will highlight the trail across the region, along the route covered by the Tyne and Wear Metro system and other public transport.
The initiative has been organised by Newcastle-based St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice, which cares for young people from across the region, in conjunction with creative producers, Wild In Art.
Jane Hogan, Great North Snowdogs Project Lead from St Oswald’s Hospice said it was “fantastic to see so many key organisations from Sunderland backing the trail.”
“The support we have received has been overwhelming and the Great North Snowdogs trail will hopefully not just be an event which is positive for St Oswald’s Hospice but for the region as a whole.
“St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice has been supporting children with incurable conditions, and their families and loved ones from across the region since 2003. We’re thrilled that the fundraising proceeds from this trail will go towards providing more specialist care for those who need it.”
For further information, visit www.greatnorthsnowdogs,co.uk or call 0191 285 0063.