News Flash: Britain is being invaded by Gruffalos!
June 7th readers is the date to write in your diary or circle on your calendar as that is the day The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson’s and Axel Scheffler’s adorable ogre turns 15.
It is no big secret that we are HUGE fans of The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child too, in fact we told you all about our visit to The Gruffalo Trail in Thorndon Park Essex last October and many of you have since been to visit and loved it as much as we did.
Well when the Forestry Commision found out The Gruffalo was going to be celebrating his 15th this year they put some very special plans into action which are to be revealed all over the UK on his special day, June 7th.
They asked Neil Bruce, the sculptor of the beautiful wooden sculptures in Thorndon Park, to sculpt another 15 statues in his honour and we were invited this weekend to a secret location to see Neil at work and help him out a little bit.
What an honour and I love secrets too.
We headed off to the secret location (kept secret because sadly there are people out there who want to sabotage the surprise) and this is what we found waiting, 4 Gruffalos inside almost ready for departure, 3 outside almost completed plus one to work on. Mission Gruffalo UK.
Note the massive uncut trunks standing next to the finished Gruffalo to get an idea of the mammoth task at hand but Neil is taking it all in his stride. He told me he’s not a sculptor by nature but works as a Forester (Not sure if that’s the right term) in Thorndon Park. He created the trail and due to the enormous interest has now taken on this next job.
he has made each Gruffalo different to the next and included one who is fast asleep. He invited the children over to see him and there were huge shouts of ‘Wake up Gruffalo!’ but he was a very deep sleeper, even when they climbed on top of him.
Then Neil surprised us all as he handed out paint brushes and proper paint to the kids asking them to help paint him. The little people couldn’t believe their good luck and there was a lot of dipping brushes into the huge pot of paint, I even had a couple of goes myself, well you would wouldn’t you?
Our day was complimented with a proper Gruffalo tea party and that’s another thing, if you visit the Forestry Commision website you will be able to download a whole Birthday Party Picnic pack so you can celebrate his birthday too, what are you waiting for?