Crowds gathered in the drizzle outside the Market Hall this morning to witness proud Prestonian Nick Park, creator of Wallace and Gromit, and the Mayor of Preston, Councillor Javed Iqbal, unveil the city’s newest sculpture The Wrong Trousers Wallace and Gromit Bench.
Adrian Phillips, Chief Executive of Preston City Council, opened the event to the excited crowds, introducing Nick Park and the Mayor of Preston, before thanking Nick Park and the team at Aardman Animations, Preston Partnership Towns Fund Board, Maplegrove Developments, the arts team at Preston City Council and the team from Pete Marquis.
He said: “I hope the bench will bring a smile and joy to all who gaze and sit on it.”
Following the unveiling, Nick Park, the Mayor, his wife Tahira and local schoolchildren from St Stephen’s Primary School were the first to sit on it and enjoy having their photographs taken.
Local sculptor Peter Hodgkinson – who created The Splash statue of Sir Tom Finney outside Deepdale, and who was a consultant on the Wallace and Gromit bench project – also attended the unveiling.
Preston is the home city of the animated duo’s creator, Honorary Freeman of the City Nick Park.
Based on the cheese-loving inventor and his loyal companion as they appeared in The Wrong Trousers, the bench sculpture has 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.
This morning’s unveiling kicks off a weekend of Wallace and Gromit themed events in the city. The Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Library will host Wallace and Gromit crafting workshops on Saturday 11 September, and on Sunday 12 September. The Harris will also screen Wallace and Gromit films A Close Shave and The Wrong Trousers.