A public art trail featuring a sleuth of colourful bears is launching in North Devon next month.
The 25 life-sized bears have all been individually painted by local artists and will form a series of mini art trails in and around Barnstaple, Bideford, Torrington and Ilfracombe.
The Bear Hunt Art Trail, being held in support of Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW), goes live on February 11. People will be able to a download a special mobile app to track down all the bears, find out more about the artists and the charity, and create their own virtual collection.
Some of the bears were briefly unveiled to the public at the Affinity Devon outlet shopping village at the weekend and project coordinator Kate Romo said she was looking forward to seeing them all venture out into the ‘wild’ in time for the start of the February half-term.
“We’re very excited to see our fabulous bears come out of their winter hibernation and find their new temporary homes in and around beautiful North Devon,” said Kate.
"With the trail launching at the start of half-term week and running throughout the spring until May, it’s a great opportunity for people to get out and have fun spotting all the bears.
“Not only will they be wonderful additions to the local landscape, the bears will also help raise awareness and funds for CHSW, which provides vital care for children and young people with life-limiting conditions and their families, including at our Little Bridge House hospice in Fremington.
We hope people have fun finding them all and are looking forward to seeing everyone’s pictures popping up on social media. I’ll definitely be taking a few selfies myself!
Among the artists taking part are Amy Jobes from Chivenor; Sandy Brown from Appledore; Jennie Cousins from Ilfracombe; Lisa White from Braunton; Mau Mau from Barnstaple; John Hurford from Chulmleigh; Nicola Hallman from Hartland, Alice Bulmer from Bideford, Lucy Sheffield from Clovelly; Faye Allison from Ilfracombe; and Kathy Nettles from Holsworthy.
There are also a number of celebrity-artist collaborations, including with former England and Somerset cricketer Marcus Trescothick; British flat and steeplechase jockey Tom Scudamore; and television and radio presenter Judi Spiers.
The five-foot-tall bears are being sponsored by local businesses and Kate said she also hoped they would bring significant footfall and economic benefit to the area. In the summer, the bears will be auctioned off to raise money for CHSW.
“There are still some sponsorship opportunities, so if your business would like to get involved or you’d like to find out more, we’d love to hear from you,” added Kate.
For more information about the Bear Hunt art trail and to download the Bear Hunt app, visit www.chswbearhunt.org