The bronze sculpture of Wallace and Gromit has been welcomed to Preston, the home city of the animated duo’s creator, Honorary Freeman of the City Nick Park, today.
Based on the cheese-loving inventor and his loyal companion as they appeared in The Wrong Trousers, the bench sculpture stands in pride of place outside Preston Markets, close to the entrance on Orchard Street.
Facilitated by Preston City Council, this exciting new addition to the city centre has the backing of Aardman, the Bristol-based studio behind the hugely successful Wallace and Gromit film franchise and in which Nick Park has been a leading light since 1985.
Mayor of Preston, Councillor Javed Iqbal unveiled the bench alongside its creator, Nick Park, kicking off a weekend of family friendly events celebrating Wallace and Gromit. The Harris Musuem, Art Gallery and Library will host Wallace and Gromit crafting workshops on Saturday September 11, while on Sunday September 12, The Harris will also screen Wallace and Gromit films A Close Shave and The Wrong Trousers.
Mayor of Preston, Councillor Javed Iqbal, said:
“It is my pleasure to welcome Nick Park back to Preston to unveil this brilliant bench specially designed for the city, which I am sure will become a favourite spot to visit for residents and visitors for years to come.
“To celebrate this new Prestonian landmark, we have special guests coming to the city centre that will delight our younger visitors, as well as a range of family activities based in the Harris.
“I look forward to seeing the many photographs and selfies taken with the iconic duo over the coming days and weeks. This fun new addition to the city centre is a sight you don’t want to miss.”
The bench is one of five ‘Pop-Up’ projects beling delivered through £1 million of inital funding Preston received from the government’s national Towns Fund. The Pop-Ups aim to encourage visitors back into the city after the pandemic, driving footfall and supporting the economy.
John Chesworth, chair of the Preston Partnership and the Preston Towns Fund Board, said:
“Since we announced the bench was happening we’ve had positive feedback from across the world. This is a fantastic story for Preston to have someone from the city who has created a global brand to have that success recognised with a sculpture thousands of people will see and interact with every day.”
Commenting on the sculpture when it was first announced in June, Nick Park, said: “It is such a great honour for me, as a proud Prestonian, to see my characters Wallace and Gromit cast in bronze and given pride of place in my hometown.”
Visitors to the bench are being invited to use #WallaceGromitBench to share their photos online.