If you go down to the woods today…

Sheffield’s fabulous sculpture trail is back. And this year it’s all about the bears!


Following the success of the elephant trail in 2016 The Children’s Hospital Charity has taken to the streets of Sheffield once again this summer.


Bringing together businesses, communities, artists and schools, this creative and visionary public arts exhibition is set to reunite our city, while celebrating all that is truly great about Sheffield and the surrounding areas.


Sixty Big Bears, standing at 2.1m tall (yep, that’s big!) all sponsored by local businesses, organisations, and families; together with 100 Little Bears, which have been fundraised for and decorated by schools, nurseries and colleges make up the overall collection, with individual bears positioned at indoor and outdoor locations throughout the city.


The Bears of Sheffield, as they are collectively (and affectionately) known, have been brought to life by artists of all ages, both amateur and professional, with the sculptures produced by model and prototype manufacturers Simpson Patterns Ltd.


The design of the sculpture has been based on the legendary Botanical Gardens bear, created by local artist and sculptor David Mayne.


I dare say it’s no mean feat bringing in a sleuth of bears (the correct collective noun, I am assured…) to a city, and so congratulations to the team who have worked around the clock, and Covid, to make this happen.


The objective behind it all is obviously to fundraise for the Sheffield Children’s Hospital, a recognised centre of excellence. Nobody who lives in this region will not have been touched or impacted by this remarkable institution. My best friend works there as an ICU Sister; my daughter (and I) was tenderly and carefully supported after her second-degree burns; my younger sister spent many an hour there in the 1980s – and many, many, many local friends, colleagues and neighbours all have their story to tell too. As individuals, parents, families, and as a city we owe them a lot.


The money raised from The Bears is set to go towards a new cancer and leukaemia ward. The ward provides treatment for cancer and blood disorders in children from babies through to 19-year-olds from South Yorkshire, Derbyshire, and Lincolnshire. It also sees patients from across the UK for chemotherapy, operations, and bone marrow transplants.


Simply, there is no better place for us as a community to place our generosity.


After the trail exhibition is over each Little Bear will be returned to its school, nursery or college – and the Big Bears will be auctioned off at a special event to raise further funds… get dusting down those cheque books.


So, a call out to all fellow Sheffield-ers join to join the trail this summer, get outside, explore the wonders of Sheffield, and help raise vital funds for Sheffield Children’s …


you’re sure of a big surprise.


Follow the Bears of Sheffield on Twitter @BearsofSheff or @bearsofsheffield