Animal magic comes to town

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Hamilton was overrun by a herd of safari animals this weekend when The Big Stampede came to Lanarkshire.

More than 100 colourful sculptures including elephants, lions, gorillas, giraffes, rhinos and baby hippos are to spend their summer in Hamilton.

Organised by Hamilton Business Improvement District (BID) and Wild in Art, the animals will be on display until the start of September when they will take part in a special auction to raise money for Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.

The animals can be found at a range of locations including Regent Shopping Centre, Strathclyde Park, Chatelherault as well as outside and inside numerous shops and businesses throughout Lanarkshire.

As part of the launch celebrations, Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity is hosting a week of special events running to July 1.

People in the town are also encouraged to look out for performances at Top Cross in Hamilton where they can also find Thomas the giraffe.

Other activities during the launch celebrations include entertainment for children, live music, and a comedy gala featuring some of Scotland’s top talent.

Each of the individual animals has been sponsored and then designed by an artist, commissioned from across the UK to create a one-off design specifically for Hamilton.

Designs include everything from a space suit wearing gorilla featuring an acrylic helmet to a giant Tunnock’s Teacake themed giraffe and a lion brought to life in thousands of pieces of colourful mosaic.

The designs have been made using a range of materials and have been inspired by everything from food and drink to history and the environment.

Young people throughout Lanarkshire also had the chance to get involved in the trail with almost 80 baby hippos designed by more than 1,500 pupils from schools across the local area.

As well as being able to visit their animals on the Little Stampede trail, the pupils received a series of exciting education resources which covered several areas of the curriculum, from numeracy, literacy and art to conservation and the environment.

One local primary even had a bit of help from renowned Scottish artist, Stephen Brown where he added his famous McCoo design.

At the end of their summer vacation, the larger animals will go up for auction in September with proceeds going towards Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity, to support the 168,000 babies, children and young people treated at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow every year.

Kirsten Sinclair, Director of Fundraising at Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Thousands of children from Lanarkshire are treated each year at our children’s hospital, so it is wonderful to be a part of such a special event which will help us raise vital funds to ensure that those very children receive the best possible care.”