The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Leeds Bear Hunt: Leeds Hospitals Charity launches new bear sculpture trail raising funds for Leeds Children's Hospital

30 May 2022

Leeds Hospitals Charity is delighted to officially announce the launch of Leeds Bear Hunt, an exciting public art event, which will take place in Summer 2023 and raise money for Leeds Children’s Hospital.

Leeds Bear Hunt will see Leeds Hospitals Charity team up with art trail experts Wild in Art, who have been delivering world class public events across the globe for ten years.

More than 50 giant Bear sculptures will hide in plain sight on the streets and in the parks of Leeds for ten weeks. Decorated by local and national artists, designers and illustrators, the Bears will form a family-friendly trail for visitors to discover and enjoy.

The free public event is set to benefit the whole community, with hundreds of thousands of Leeds residents and visitors expected to join in the fun.

Why Bears?

Leeds Hospitals Charity is also working in partnership with Walker Productions/Lupus Films, the production team behind the stunning animation based on the best-selling children’s book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, published by Walker Books. The Bear sculptures are inspired by the Bear from the award-winning TV animation and have been commissioned and created just for Leeds.

Over the last 30 years, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt has enchanted children and parents alike with its story of perseverance, optimism and a love of nature, selling over 13 million books worldwide in 42 languages. Author Michael Rosen’s retelling of this classic picture book has exceeded over 15 million views on YouTube.

The message of this wonderful story is about how we deal with our fears. This is reflected in the experience of many children in hospital, who might be scared of the unknown, or possibly the knowledge of what is to come. With the money raised by Leeds Bear Hunt, we hope to create a Leeds Children’s Hospital that is a welcoming and reassuring place, with a hospital team that is equipped to support children and families facing their own “Bear”.

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Leeds Children's Hospital Clinical Director Colin Holton meets the first bear at the launch event.

Successful Wild in Art trails in Manchester, Plymouth and the North East saw huge benefits for the local economy in the past few years. An Art Trail delivered by Wild in Art in Newcastle and surrounding areas brought in over 650,000 visitors, whilst Manchester’s Bee in the City trail provided an economic boost of over £10 million.

Esther Wakeman, Chief Executive of Leeds Hospitals Charity, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to be launching a 2023 Art Trail based on 'We’re Going on a Bear Hunt'. My little girl loves the book and as a family we are excited at the prospect of going on our own ‘hunt’ across Leeds to find all the spectacular and original sculptures. We hope people will be just as excited as we are that such a world class, free public event will be coming to Leeds.

“Leeds Bear Hunt will celebrate our rich history and shared culture, encourage people to rediscover vibrant urban spaces and spend time outdoors, and show off the creativity that our towns and villages have to offer.

“As well as creating an event that gets people excited, Leeds Bear Hunt will enable Leeds Hospitals Charity to raise vital money to help Leeds Children’s Hospital provide the best care possible for very ill babies and children in a comfortable and welcoming environment.”

Charlie Langhorne, Chief Executive of Wild in Art said:

“This is an incredibly exciting project. It’s an event we know will inspire the whole community and bring people together. And we hope by creating something for everyone to enjoy and share as one community, we will be able to help Leeds Children’s Hospital support more families and carers and create a lasting legacy for Leeds Hospitals Charity.”

The sculptures will be auctioned off to raise money for Leeds Hospitals Charity to support Leeds Children’s Hospital in September 2023.

Calling all artists, schools and businesses

As part of the Art Trail, businesses and individuals will be given a unique opportunity to sponsor a Bear sculpture.

Schools will also be able to get involved in a whole range of creative learning activities – and they’ll even be given the chance to design and adopt their very own mini sculpture.

If you’re an artist, represent a business, school, college or local community group and want to be involved, or are interested in finding out more, visit: www.leedsbearhunt.co.uk/art-trail

Any businesses looking for further details about sponsorship of the Bear sculptures or to express interest in the project can email sponsors@leedsbearhunt.co.uk or call 0113 5432581.