Shaun the Sheep to take cities tour
Giant sculptures of Shaun the Sheep will arrive in London and Bristol today ahead of a public arts trail next summer.
The 5ft tall versions of the Aardman Animations character have been decorated by celebrities, designers and artists to raise money for sick children.
Shaun In The City will showcase 120 giant sheep herded on the streets of the two cities, following the success of last year's popular Gromit Unleashed trail.
Each city will feature its own flock of 60 sheep, with the London trail launching in March and Bristol during July and August.
Visitors from across the world are expected to visit the cities for the spectacle, which coincides with the Chinese Year of the Sheep and the release of Shaun The Sheep The Movie.
More than a million people took part in the Gromit Unleashed trail last summer, while an auction of the sculptures raised £2.3 million for Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.
The initiative was so successful that a summer exhibition of giant Gromit sculptures recently launched at Hong Kong's Elements shopping mall.
Six specially-commissioned Shaun sculptures, which will appeal on the trails next year, are to be unveiled in Parliament Square and overlooking the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol today.
Nick Park, creator of Shaun the Sheep, will be designing one of the sculptures on the trail himself, along with artists, designers, celebrities and local talent.
"The Shaun In The City trail means so much to me," Mr Park said.
"This opportunity to bring an arts trail to life with Gromit's pal Shaun the Sheep is baa-rilliant. Shaun is such a well-loved character with fans all over the world.
"He will add such colour to our streets and I am sure many will flock to Bristol to be part of the fun.
"I am particularly looking forward to working with so many talented artists and seeing how they will use Shaun as their canvas."
The line up of artists and celebrities taking part in the trail will be revealed as the campaign unfolds.
At the end of the Bristol trail in autumn 2015, both sets of sculptures will go on display to the general public in Bristol, ahead of an auction to raise money for children in hospitals across the UK.
Nicola Masters, director at Wallace & Gromit's Grand Appeal, said: " Following the success of Gromit Unleashed, we can't wait to bring Shaun in the City to Bristol, where there is so much love and support for Shaun the Sheep and the Grand Appeal.
"We know lots of people are already looking forward to welcoming Shaun to Bristol - we are hoping that like Gromit Unleashed, Shaun in the City will bring fun and creativity to the community, as well as drawing national and international attention to the city, whilst raising vital funds to support children in hospitals."
The trail will run in London between March 28 and May 25 and in Bristol from July 6 to August 31 2015.