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Families from Surrey and Hampshire were invited to gather in Alice Holt Forest last weekend to celebrate The Gruffalo’s 15th anniversary with a big birthday forest picnic.
Families enjoyed a fabulous day at Alice Holt Forest, thanks to the Forestry Commission and a special appearance of The Gruffalo himself.
Despite the weather looking decidedly wet to start, nothing could dampen the ardour of determined Gruffalo fans as they arrived at Alice Holt ready for fun and laughter to celebrate The Gruffalo’s birthday. And neither were they disappointed. As the new 7 foot high wooden sculpture was unveiled by The Gruffalo himself, with the help of some very willing small people, the sun broke through the clouds and a great cheer went up.
Families had a feast of activities to enjoy, ranging from listening to The Gruffalo story and making their very own animal footprints in the woods to making Gruffalo gift bags and face painting.
At lunchtime, The Gruffalo made another appearance to cut his very own birthday cake which had been magically crafted by the gifted Ali from As Sweet As – featuring all of The Gruffalo’s woodland friends in minute detail. Then, after playing with the children in the playground (the big swing was his favourite!), he then joined a Gorilla from Go Ape for some hi-jinks in the trees, ending with a double zip wire run.
Charlotte Magowan, Marketing Manager of Alice Holt Forest, said:
“It was a truly memorable day for everyone at the forest. Nothing could beat hearing the shrieks of delight from both children and adults alike as they saw their favourite forest creature strolling through the wood. And seeing their faces light up as he came to greet them and have his picture taken was simply magical.”
The Gruffalo trail and sculpture are located on the Easy Access Trail at Alice Holt Forest.
The activity trail was opened in April and will run through until September. The trail contains activities and crafts for families to try out on their walk around the woods as they explore Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s award-winning tale. The sculpture will remain on site, so it’s not too late to pop along and have your picture taken with the well-loved creature!
The Gruffalo himself will be on tour throughout the summer at various other Forestry Commission locations. Visit www.forestry.gov.uk/gruffalo to find out more about his exciting year of forest celebrations.
For more information please contact:
Charlotte Magowan, District Marketing Manager, Forestry Commission on 01483 326282 or email email@example.com
Notes to editors:
1. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Further information can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk/england
2. Forestry Commission Discovery Passes vary in price from £20-£50 for annual membership. For more information visit www.forestry.gov.uk/pass
3. 2014 marks The Gruffalo’s 15th anniversary and The Gruffalo’s Child’s 10th anniversary and will see a range of celebratory events which are being driven by Magic Light Pictures. Starting in March, a national schools tour of Gruffalo themed days will take place in partnership with Film Nation; the Gruffalo birthday month at the Eden Project will be celebrated in May and Gruffalo films will be performed live with the Northern Sinfonia in October. The anniversary year also sees the launch of Gruffalo reading frames with Specsavers along with other new and exciting product ranges including luxury wooden toys from Bajo and anniversary publications from Macmillan's Children's Books.
4. About Magic Light Pictures
Magic Light Pictures is an award winning brand-building and production company, which creates rich and imaginative experiences for families worldwide.
Magic Light is focussed on growing select family brands with strong stories, evergreen characters and products to cherish. The company produces films, TV and games as well as directly managing licensing, global distribution and marketing.
As well as brand-building Magic Light produces widely – including Oscar-nominated, European Film Award winning feature Chico & Rita, comedy thriller Wild Target and natural history documentary One Life (one of the highest grossing independent UK films of 2011).
Magic Light’s key brand is The Gruffalo, from the best-selling picture books by author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler. Magic Light produced the Oscar and BAFTA-nominated half-hour animated films, The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child, and has sold them to over 80 broadcasters worldwide. Magic Light also runs a cross-category international merchandising programme for The Gruffalo brand, with over 40 licensees and 250 products which capture the charm of the original books.
In 2012, Magic Light introduced its new brand, Room on the Broom – based on the best-selling book by Donaldson and Scheffler – with another award-winning half-hour animation and a growing range of merchandise. Room on the Broom won the 2013 Children’s BAFTA for animation.
5. About The Gruffalo
The Gruffalo is a fast growing classic brand based on the best selling books written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Magic Light Pictures produced two award winning half hour animated films (The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child) and has launched a very successful, high quality merchandising programme which builds on the heritage of this special and much loved property.
First published in 1999 by Macmillan's Children's Books The Gruffalo has been described as a 'modern classic' (The Observer). Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, the book has been translated into 52 different languages. A second book, The Gruffalo's Child, was published in 2004 and together they have sold over 10 million copies worldwide.
In 2009 Magic Light Pictures produced a half hour animated special based on The Gruffalo. First broadcast in the UK on BBC One, Christmas Day 2009, the film was seen by over 10m viewers, then nominated for both an Oscar® and BAFTA Film Award, and has gone on to win numerous international film awards including the Prix Jeunesse 2010. A companion film The Gruffalo's Child premiered on BBC One Christmas 2011 to 10m viewers.
6. Gruffalo activity trail locations
Gruffalo activity trails take place in the following locations. One of 15 life-sized carvings of The Gruffalo is now in-situ at forests marked with *.
• Alice Holt, Surrey*
• Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest, Kent*
• Beechenhurst, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
• Cannock Chase, Staffordshire*
• Cardinham Woods, Bodmin
• Dalby Forest, Yorkshire*
• Delamere Forest, Cheshire*
• Grizedale Forest, Cumbria
• Guisborough Forest,
• Haldon Forest Park, Exeter*
• Hamsterley Forest, Durham*
• Hicks Lodge, Leicestershire
• High Lodge, Thetford Forest, Suffolk*
• Jeskyns, Kent*
• Kielder Forest, Northumberland
• Moors Valley Country Park, Dorset*
• New Forest Bolderwood, Hampshire
• Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire
• Sherwood Pines, Nottingham*
• Top Lodge, Fineshade woods, Northamptonshire*
• Wendover Woods, Buckinghamshire*
• Westonbirt, Gloucestershire*
• Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria*
• Wyre Forest, Shropshire*