A wild and multi-coloured animal is loose on the streets of Norwich.

He’s five feet tall, almost three feet wide, and has markings covering his body which depict the sights of the county.

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Given the name of Nelson, he has been brought to Norwich by Norfolk-born Break, a charity which runs a series of support services helping children, young people and families in the region.

The fibreglass fixture is the first of more than 50 gorilla sculptures to descend on Norwich next summer as part of the GoGoGorillas project, which is supported by the Eastern Daily Press.

With 15 sculptures already in storage, the charity is working in partnership with Wild In Art, a company which works with artists, communities and public and private sector organisations to produce events for cities around the country, as well as wildlife charity The Born Free Foundation.

They are appealing for artists’ designs for the animals to bring each one to life with a unique design, as well as for local businesses to provide sponsorship.

Martin Green, Break fundraising officer and manager of the project for the charity, said: “We are looking for companies and artists to come forward and be a part of one of the biggest events in Norwich, whilst supporting a local charity.

“It’s going to be amazing for Norwich – people get to see these gorillas out and about in the city.”

Aylsham-based artist Mik Richardson designed Nelson, the first gorilla to see the bright lights of the city. Nelson is decorated with images of Norwich Cathedral, complete with its perergrine falcons, Norwich City Football Club, The Broads, Norwich Market, Norfolk Lavender and poppies. Artists are asked to complete an entry form with their design of the front, back, and both sides of the animal which will go to a review panel before the presentation for companies to choose their design in December and January. But before this stage, businesses, community groups, or education establishments are being invited to sponsor a gorilla which, for the company, will raise awareness of their work and, in return, up to 60pc of the money made from the eventual auctioning of the gorillas will be donated to Break.

And hopes are that the 2013 project will be even more successful than the elephant art project which came to the city in 2008, where one elephant sold for £25,000 at auction. During the 10-week 2008 Wild in Art Go Elephants project in Norwich, Jarrold reported a 20pc increase in sales based upon their sponsorship of a sculpture, while a survey revealed many people travelled to the city centre especially to see the elephants.

Organisers of the latest project said there was originally talk of using canaries for the trail but they chose gorillas because of the animal’s motherly instincts which draw a parallel to the charity’s work to support children, young people and families.

For more information or to download a sponsorship or artists’ pack visit www.gogogorillas.co.uk

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