December 9 2013 Latest news:
David Freezer and Mark Shields
Monday, September 9, 2013
They are the 54 furry friends who have captured the hearts of Norwich folk this summer but now, after more than two months, the GoGoGorillas have said goodbye.
The gorillas, which created a hugely successful art trail for families to enjoy in the city this summer, were whisked away yesterday morning.
An initial 53 gorillas arrived in the city on Sunday, June 23 and were eventually bolstered by a 54th gorilla to coincide with the world premiere of Alan Partridge movie Alpha Papa being held at Hollywood Cinema in Norwich.
The art trail has been raising funds and awareness for children’s charity Break and the Born Free Foundation, working with arts and education company Wild in Art.
Last week we ran an online poll to find out which of the colourful creations is the favourite of the Norfolk public, with more than 4,700 people casting a vote.
At the end of a fierce competition, our readers have chosen their favourite GoGoGorilla – and it’s Alan.
The Partridge-themed gorilla in Upper King Street has been crowned the king of the swingers and the jungle VIP after narrowly edging out Bling Kong.
Riding high after a Norwich summer which could be defined by Alan Partridge and the GoGoGorillas, Alan scooped 36pc of the votes, just 1pc ahead of his rival from Gilders Way.
The pair were the two clear favourites, with Batgrill (8pc), Bradley Wiggins (5pc) and Optimus Primate (4pc) a distance behind.
The top 10 was rounded out by the controversial Freddie ‘Radio GoGo’ Gorilla (3pc), Iron Ape (3pc), Poppyland Hero (3pc), Ray (2pc) and Ape’d Crusader (1pc).
Martin Green, project manager of the GoGoGorillas, said there was a huge reaction to the gorillas being removed.
“What it has done is bring a lot of businesses together,” said Mr Green. “There’s been a lot of networking, a lot of cooperation between lots of different groups of people and it is all of those people who made the trail what it was.
“It’s been about Norwich coming together.”
Mr Green said 15 of the 54 gorillas will need some minor repairs and cleaning up before they are auctioned to raise funds for Break and the Born Free Foundation on Thursday, October 3.
TV presenter Jake Humphrey, a patron for Break, will host the auction at The Forum in Norwich from 6.30pm that day and it is hoped tens of thousands of pounds will be raised.
Mr Green said there are also plans afoot for the gorillas to return to the city’s streets for a final farewell.
“There are 13 which need some repairs and one had been vandalised so that is going to be repainted,” Mr Green added.
“But 13 out of 54 is really impressive and it shows that the people of Norwich have shown respect for the gorillas. Most just had a bit of wear and tear from where people had been getting their photos with them.”
The Alan gorilla was designed by artist Phil Daniels, from Cawston, with the help of his 20-year-old daughter, Sam.
They had just four days to get Alan ready for its release in time for the Alpha Papa premiere at Hollywood Cinema in Anglia Square.
Mr Daniels said: “I think with the release of the film and with the premiere being in Norwich, it’s worked out as a good result for Norwich.
“I was there for the premiere and got him (Alan Partridge actor Steve Coogan) to sign its leg, which I thought was amazing.
“It all tied in for the city, the guys trying to get the premiere here etc, so it’s all good for Norwich.”