Celebrating One Of Preston’s Finest…
With A Cracking Bench Gromit!
Preston will soon have its own Wallace & Gromit bench in celebration of the animated duo’s Preston-born, Academy Award®-winning creator Nick Park. The bronze bench, based on the pair as they appeared in The Wrong Trousers, will be installed outside Preston Markets later this year allowing visitors to have their picture taken with life-size sculptures of two of film’s most famous characters
The project has the backing of Aardman, the Bristol-based studio behind the hugely successful Wallace & Gromit film franchise and in which Nick Park has been a leading light since 1985.
The bench is being funded from a pot of £1million in initial funding Preston received from the government’s national Towns Fund initiative for the Pop-Up projects which aim to encourage visitors back into the city after the pandemic, driving footfall and supporting businesses. The city received a total of £20.9m from the Towns Fund in March to support its wider Harris Quarter Investment Programme.
Commenting on the sculpture, 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.”
John Chesworth, chair of the Preston Partnership and the Preston Towns Fund Board, said: “Nick is one of our most famous living Prestonians and it’s great that we can celebrate his achievements with this new sculpture.
“Wallace & Gromit are familiar to millions and the films are hugely popular with all age groups. We very much look forward to welcoming the duo to Preston and to inviting people to come into the city centre to visit them.
“Together with our other Pop-Up attractions, the sculpture has the potential to attract visitors to the city from Preston and beyond. It will be a focal point for many generations to come.”
Designed by Nick Park and the team at Aardman in consultation with local sculptor Peter Hodgkinson, the bench is currently being produced at the Castle Fine Arts Foundry in Wales.
A planning application for the bench has been submitted to Preston City Council and it is hoped the bench could be installed in August this year.
Nick Park was born in Preston, he grew up in Penwortham before later moving to Walmer Bridge. He began his studies at Preston College, where the library is named after him, before going on to study Communication Art at Sheffield Polytechnic and then focus on animation at the National Film and Television School. Altogether Nick has won four Academy Awards® and six BAFTAs® among many other film and television awards.