The Bristol knittivity has become a familiar sight in shopping centres around Bristol just before Christmas. However I thought you might be interested in the story behind its creation. A few years ago a group of friends who worked at St. Teresa’s catholic school in Horfield, Bristol started a knitting group called the knutty knitters. When Christine, one of the group became ill with cancer and sadly died her friends decided to do something to raise funds for St. Peter’s hospice where she had spent her last weeks. St. Peter’s hospice is the only adult hospice in Bristol and each year they care for about 2,500 patients. Care is provided free of charge but the hospice costs about £20,000 a day to run. About £15,000 of this comes from legacies, donations and shop purchases.
The ladies decided to use their hobby to raise funds and the Bristol knittivity was the result. Eventually the seven knutty knitters made 13 figures, 3 kings, 2 shepherds, Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, an angel, a donkey, a sheep, a lamb and a camel. Each figure used up to 7 lbs of wool and took about 9 months to knit. The talented ladies even made their own patterns.
Each year St. Peter’s hospice choose the figures for one of their charity Christmas cards and photograph them against a famous Bristol landmark like the Clifton suspension bridge or the Cabot tower.
The knutty knitters have raised over £150,000 from the knitivity but unfortunately this will be the last year it will be on display as it is getting old and worn. In my photo taken in a local supermarket the poor donkey and camel are showing the effects of too many children trying to ride them. The knutty knitters have knitted a smaller version of the nativity for display at St. Peter’s hospice and I have heard that there may be knitted penguins on tour next year.
There is a brand new Wallace and Gromit sculpture trail, Gromit unleashed 2 running in Bristol from 2 July to 2nd September with over sixty sculptures dotted around the city and surrounding areas to raise money for the Wallace and Gromit Grand appeal for Bristol Children’s hospital and the St. Michael’s hospital special care baby unit. Bristol children’s hospital treats more than 100,000 patients every year and cares for patients from Bristol and the South West of England.
Many of the figures have been painted by well known artists and represent famous Bristol characters like W.G. Grace, the cricketer in my photo. The Lego design team have created a model using over 30,000 bricks and the Paw patrol team have also painted a Gromit. Aardman animation which produced Morph, Creature Comforts, Shaun the sheep and Chicken run as well as the Wallace and Gromit films is based in Bristol and Nick Park , a founder of Aardman studios is a patron of this appeal.
New for 2018
For 2018 Wallace and Gromit are joined by their arch enemy Feathers McGraw and are positioned in iconic locations around Bristol and surrounding areas. The detect-o-gromit app is available to purchase from app stores for both iPhone and android for £1.99. It has both short and longer trail routes and includes a pedometer which rewards you for 10,000 steps and has more details about the work done by the children’s hospital. A trail map is also available from the Bristol tourist office and Bristol museums. More information can be found on the Gromit Unleashed facebook page.
The first Gromit unleashed trail and the Shaun the sheep trail raised £6 million for Bristol children’s hospital and this time they are hoping to do even better. Sculptures are auctioned off at the end of the season and many end up at well known locations.
If you live near Bristol I think it would make a grand day out for you and your family. It will also help you all to get fitter while having fun and discovering new parts of the city.
First bus have a day family ticket for £8.00 if purchased through their app which allows a family of five to travel throughout the Bristol Inner zone and includes a 10p donation to the charity.