Go Go Gorillas: Norfolk schools join Norwich art trail

Go Go Gorillas on Routemaster bus
Image caption More than 60 baby gorillas took their seats as guest passengers on a classic Routemaster bus in readiness to be distributed at stops around Norwich
Go Go Gorillas on Routemaster bus
Image caption The gorillas, about the size of a three-year-old gorilla in the wild, were painted by children from more than 60 schools throughout Norfolk
Go Go Gorillas on Routemaster bus
Image caption Gorilla numbers have plummeted in recent years, mainly through habitat loss, although between 1992 and 2007 the deadly ebola virus killed one third of the entire population
Go Go Gorillas on Routemaster bus
Image caption Martin Green, from Norwich charity Break, who have organised Go Go Gorillas, said Norwich was "buzzing with excitement" as thousands of people explored the sculpture trail
Norwich Go Go Gorillas on Routemaster bus
Image caption Money raised from the Go Go Gorilla charity auction in October will go towards the Norfolk charity Break and the gorilla conservation projects in the Congo run by the Born Free Foundation
Go Go Gorilla at Strangers Cafe, Norwich
Image caption The baby gorillas have been given homes in independent shops and cafes. Championship barista and coffee shop owner Alex Sargeant said the trail showed "just how colourful and interesting Norwich can be"

A band of 67 baby gorillas turned heads in Norwich as they were guest passengers on a Routemaster bus ready to be dropped off at stops along a conservation art trail in the city.

Painted by more than 12,000 school children across Norfolk, the pieces of art have been added to the city's 53-strong life-sized Go Go Gorilla trail.

Organised by Norfolk charity Break, the trail was launched on Monday.

Retailers said it had helped encourage people to shop locally.

The baby gorillas, standing 2ft (0.6m) tall are about the size of a three-year-old western lowland gorilla in the wild.

They will form a school's art trail throughout Norwich's shops, malls and cafes.

Championship barista Alex Sargeant, from Strangers Coffee in the Norwich Lanes, said: "A trail like this pulls people away from the main shops to discover the city's wider retail offer and encourages them to explore local shops at a time when retail, generally, is suffering.

"We've had our gorilla for about an hour and the number of people who've stopped to take photos is just incredible."

A spokesman from community arts organisation Wild In Art said with 120 sculptures, the Norwich Go Go Gorilla trail is the largest of its kind in England this summer. Other conservation-based trails are taking place in Colchester, Southampton and Exeter.

Martin Green, fundraising officer at Break, said: "We chose a gorilla because in the wild they protect and look after their family.

"This echoes what Break does as a charity in supporting vulnerable families and young people - not just from an early age, but through to adult hood where they can fend for themselves."

Fiona Muller, from Wild in Art, said: "More than 60 schools have been involved with the baby gorilla project.

"It was an opportunity for the pupils to learn about biology, science and other curriculum-based projects while painting the gorilla and it's great to see so much artwork by creative young people go on show."

The Go Go Gorillas trail runs until 7 September, the pieces will then be auctioned in October.

Organisers hope the project will build on the success of Norwich's Go Elephant trail in 2008, which raised more than £200,000 for CLIC Sargent charities and the Born Free Foundation.

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites