Twelve larger than life ducks are coming to Ironbridge next year to brighten up the high street and bring a smile to people’s faces.
The giant painted ducks will be arriving in the spring and will form a trail around Ironbridge for locals and visitors to follow and enjoy.
They are the idea of local resident Julie Ward who was inspired by a Norwich gorilla trail she heard about in 2013. People went wild for the life-sized gorillas, which raised footfall in the city centre and became a social media sensation. The gorillas were then auctioned after their summer showing, raising thousands of pounds for charity.
Having loved the gorillas, Julie wanted to bring the idea to life at home. She joined forces with her friend Anne Marie and put in a bid for an £18,000 grant from Telford & Wrekin Council’s Pride in Your High Street Fund, which was successful.
Julie said: “I wanted to do something like this ever since I first saw the gorillas on social media, but I didn’t dare hope it would be possible. When news of the High Street Fund was announced I knew this was my opportunity to make it happen. To qualify for funding, the idea had to be innovative, engaging and have a bit of longevity. It also needed to show that there would be wider benefits for the community and for others. I really believe the ducks will be all of these things.
“My next job was to source the ducks. Where do you go to buy giant ducks? When I was looking around I heard about some 9ft ducks that were for sale in a charity auction after being part of an art trail in Liverpool. My bid secured the ducks and proceeds went to Macmillan.
“My plan now is to get business sponsorship for each duck and work with local artists, community groups, schools and others to submit fun designs to decorate the ducks that reflect Telford. The most important thing to me is that they bring fun to our community, visitors to Ironbridge and smiles to everyone’s faces.”
Councillor John Minor, Telford & Wrekin Council cabinet member for leisure, green spaces and parks, said: “The High Street Fund was about bringing forward projects that give a boost to our high streets and attract visitors. Some of the projects have helped smarten up high streets such as the painted shutters in Dawley and false window murals in Wellington. Others are a little bit more unusual. The ducks are fun and I really hope that Julie’s hard work pays off and that people love them. Well done Julie for having a vision and making it happen.”
The giant ducks will be on display in Ironbridge from spring next year, the year Telford turns 50, and will then be auctioned off with all proceeds split between Severn Hospice and the Jayne Sargent Foundation.
To follow Julie’s progress and keep updated on duck tales follow them on twitter @letsgoquackers.