New Bear of Sheffield trail will 'put a smile back on people's faces' this summer

It’s a bear!Sheffield families will be able to go on their own real life bear hunt this summer as a new art trail opens in the city.

By Ellen Beardmore
Monday, 22nd March 2021, 10:04 am
Pictured is Cheryl Davidson, Bears of Sheffield Project Manager with the bear by artist Tom Pigeon. Picture: Chris Etchells
Pictured is Cheryl Davidson, Bears of Sheffield Project Manager with the bear by artist Tom Pigeon. Picture: Chris Etchells

The Bears of Sheffield sculpture trail is to pop up around the city’s streets to raise money for Sheffield’s The Children’s Hospital Charity, supporting the drive to build a new cancer and leukaemia ward.

The trail will comprise of 60 big bears, standing at 2.1m tall, which are designed by artists, sponsored by local businesses, organisations and families, as well as 100 little bears which have been fundraised for and decorated by schools, nurseries and colleges.

It is to begin a year later than planned after being postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Children’s Hospital Charity Bears of Sheffield 2021. Pictured is Cheryl Davidson, Bears of Sheffield Project Manager with the bear by artist Geo Law. Picture: Chris Etchells

Event organiser Cheryl Davidson said: “The Bears of Sheffield will be a great opportunity for us to get outside, explore Sheffield and celebrate our wonderful city, all for a good cause.

“It will showcase the vision, creativity and generosity of our community.

“Since the postponement last year, we have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the Bears of Sheffield can be enjoyed safely. This has included assessing each location to ensure social distancing can be followed, discouraging touching of the sculptures, and limiting the amount placed closely to one other.

“We have and continue to work closely with Sheffield Council and other key partners to ensure the project adheres to the government guidelines and I would like to place on record our thanks to them for helping to bring the bears to Sheffield this summer.”

The trail will feature 60 large bears and 100 small ones

The design of the bear has been based on the Sheffield Botanical Gardens bear created by local artist and sculptor David Mayne.

After the trail is complete, each small bear will be returned to its school, nursery or college as a memento. The larger bears will be auctioned off at a special event to raise more funds.

It is hoped the trail can repeat the success of the Herd of Sheffield in 2016, when elephant sculptures attracted around 175,000 visitors to the city, and raised £610,000.

Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture at Sheffield Council, said: “ At a time when our cultural sector has suffered so many challenges the bears will bring a fantastic collection of expression and vibrancy to Sheffield.

“It's wonderful to see how people react to the different representations of each piece of art, I can't wait to see children 'going on a bear hunt' and Sheffielders sharing photos of their favourites. Thank you to everyone behind the scenes who got their paws dirty working so hard to bring this exhibition to the streets of Sheffield."

Diane Jarvis, manager at headline sponsor Sheffield BID, added: “The trail will bring atmosphere to the city centre and provide a fun-family friendly activity to put a smile back on people’s faces, as well as driving spend onto our retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

“As one of the first major events to be held since the pandemic, The Bears of Sheffield will demonstrate the city is once again open for business as we welcome people back safely.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the hospital charity’s fundraising to fall by around 35 per cent in the last year, a decline of £1.3 million.

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