Fifty bears, one city - find out how and why The Paddington Trail was created for London and its visitors
Find 50 amazing Paddington statues in London to celebrate the arrival of Paddington in cinemas on 28 November
The origins of Paddington Bear date back almost 60 years. His creator, Michael Bond, bought a small bear from Selfridges on Christmas Eve 1956, as a present for his wife, and named him after the nearest railway station to which they lived.
In celebration of London’s art, culture and innovation, and the release of Paddington the movie – in UK Cinemas from 28 November – visitlondon.com, the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) and STUDIOCANAL present The Paddington Trail.
Fifty Bears, One City
From 4 November to 30 December you’ll be able to follow in the furry footsteps of the world’s favourite Peruvian explorer. Fifty Paddington statues will be placed across London close to museums, parks, shops and key landmarks in an inspiring trail. Each of the statues will be created by artists, designers and celebrities with the trail following the travelling bear’s favourite places in London.
The list of creators includes stars of the Paddington film Hugh Bonneville, Peter Capaldi Nicole Kidman, Julie Walters and Ben Whishaw, Hollywood actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Sheen and Emma Watson, director Guy Ritchie, stars of the music world Nick Mason and Frankie Bridge, globally renowned photographer Rankin, leading fashion designers Christopher Kane, Lulu Guinness and Matthew Williamson, painter and street artist Inkie, multi-talented artists Tom Phillips and Hannah Warren and world-famous ex-footballer and underwear designer, David Beckham.
Actor Hugh Bonneville, who stars in the forthcoming Paddington film, is amongst the designers and comments: “Paddington is an explorer – this trail is a wonderful way of bringing this to life and I hope it makes people look at London with fresh eyes. I am delighted to have been asked to design one of the bears and have created an ode to Paddington’s favourite preserve. I can’t wait for people to see it.”
The star-studded Paddington design team also includes former Royal Ballet principal dancer Darcey Bussell, presenters Davina McCall, Ant McPartlin & Declan Donnelly and Jonathan Ross, explorer and survival expert Bear Grylls, the Chelsea football team, the England rugby union team and Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
The first of the designs were also revealed today: ‘Paddington Bear’ by Michael Bond, ‘Paddington Shakesbear’ by Michael Sheen, ‘Paddington Sparkles’ by Frankie Bridge and ‘Paddingtonscape’ by artist, Hannah Warren.
Michael Sheen who designed ‘Shakesbear Paddington’ says: “It is such a privilege to be designing a statue for The Paddington Trail, especially as it is raising money for the NSPCC – a charity I’m proud to support. I am delighted to have been able to create Shakesbear and combine my love of the bear with my passion for the bard!”
Visitors will be able to follow the world’s favourite Peruvian explorer, visiting locations across the capital from as far west as Heathrow through to the O2 in the east, taking in some of London’s key cultural and landmark hotspots such as The Royal Opera House, Museum of London, Horse Guards Parade, the Museum of Childhood and, of course, Paddington Station. The trail will end in Selfridges.
Buy a Bear
Selfridges Oxford Street will be selling a variety of exclusive miniature Paddington Trail bears from its Paddington Curiosity Shop in aid of the NSPCC and Childline. The exhibition and retail experience will also include rare items from the Paddington archive, limited edition gifts and Selfridges’ own selection of fashion items inspired by Paddington. A full sized Paddington Trail bear designed for Selfridges will also find a home in Selfridges’ world-renowned Christmas windows, celebrating the store’s focus on Christmas storytelling.
How The Trail Will Help Children
The lead charity partner of The Paddington Trail is the NSPCC who will be launching an online auction (in November) and a live auction (in December) for the statues designed by artists and some of the more collectable items. All of the proceeds will go to charity. It is hoped that The Paddington Trail and associated activities will raise over £1 million for the NSPCC.
The trail also benefits children’s charity Action Medical Research for whom Paddington Bear has been the official mascot for over 35 years.
Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, has said: “It’s going to be wonderful to see two iconic British institutions – Paddington Bear and the NSPCC – coming together against the backdrop of this wonderful city, to raise vital funds for vulnerable children and their families. Paddington was fortunate enough to be found by Mr and Mrs Brown who gave him love and a safe space to grow up – something that every young person deserves. Through ChildLine, the NSPCC is there 24/7 for any young person who is feeling lost and in need of support.”
To find out more about The Paddington Trail, go to www.visitlondon.com/paddington