December 11 2013 Latest news:
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Huge crowds turned out to see the GoGoGorillas! reunited for a final time outside the Forum in Norwich city centre today.
Norwich’s troop of apes were welcomed back by the Lord Mayor of Norwich, Keith Driver for the start of a final farewell.
The GoGoGorillas! 11-week trail through Norwich this summer was a huge hit, and the apes went on display outside the Forum for their last hurrah.
The Lord Mayor, who was introduced by David Powles, EDP and Evening News assistant editor, was accompanied by the Alan Partridge gorilla that was crowned the king ape in an online poll run by the two papers.
Mr Driver said: “What a fantastic summer we have had. I just wish they could come every year.”
Among those queuing to see the apes were Jane Rowe, Rebecca Rowe, Gemmy Bailey and Alfie, six, and Molly Bailey, four, from Cromer.
Jane Rowe said: “We did not see all of them on the trail, and wanted the chance to do that.”
Rebecca added: “There’s been a buzz about the gorillas all summer,” while Gemma added: “I think they’ve been so successful because they have given people another activity during the summer. I also like the designs, and the kids love them: they just want to give them a hug.”
Claire and Robert Cott, from Mile Cross in Norwich, brought their children Elizabeth, seven, Evangeline, five, and Amelia, two. Mrs Cott said: “We never managed to see them all on the trail. Elizabeth’s doing Horatio Nelson at school, so she wanted to see the Horatio and Nelson gorillas, especially.
“I think the reason they’ve been so popular, other than that they gave us something to do, is that they were very unusual. We spent three or four days going round the various areas of Norwich trying to see them all.”
Caroline Spatchett, who was with husband Ian and son Charlie, two, came from Hethersett. She said: “We saw them on the trail and wanted to see them again. They are just wonderful, so unique and professional. They brought everybody together. It also helped that we had such a nice summer.”
Among the special guests outside the Forum were Abbie Watson, from Catton in Norwich, and James Rallison, seven, from Scottow, who were the winners of a competition to win vouchers that was entered by 11,000 people.
Martin Green, GoGoGorillas! project manager, said he could not believe how popular the gorillas had been, or the number of people outside the Forum today.
He said: “At the start there was a lot of scepticism about us doing another trail, after the elephants, which was five years ago, and people were asking why. But it’s been absolutely amazing and the support from the EDP and Evening News and the general public has been fantastic.
“We are having talks about plans for a similar trail in the future, but these trails take a long time to organise and set up. “The gorillas took two years. It’s important that we make the right decision on which trail to get.”
The apes will be on display inside the Forum until Thursday when all but one of them will go under the hammer at the GoGoGorillas! auction, which aims to raise thousands of pounds for children’s charity Break and the Born Free Foundation, which is working to protect gorillas in the wild in the Congo.
Michael Rooney, fundraising manager for Break, which organised the GoGoGorillas! trail with Wild in Art, said: “We wanted to give the public a final chance to say farewell.
“It was a case of people saying cheerio or of people considering buying a gorilla at the auction and trying to decide which ones they wanted to bid for.”
There was also the chance at the Forum to buy gorilla merchandise including t-shirts, miniature ceramics and auction/souvenir guides, and people could find out more about Break, and how it helps children, young people and families.
• For more about GoGoGorillas! including how to bid at Thursday’s auction visit www.gogogorillas.co.uk