Sculptures inspired by popular characters installed at Hardwick Park

Jun 3, 2021 | Leisure & Lifestyle

Weird and wonderful sculptures inspired by children’s book characters have gone on display at a popular County Durham park.

Talented artist and sculptor Graeme Hopper, who is from Crook, has created two new welcome additions for Sedgefield’s Hardwick Park. The new creations, which it is hoped will be popular with families, are dragon and Gruffalo-inspired metal models.

The park has been home to a wicker Gruffalo-inspired sculpture since 2016 which unfortunately had to be removed last summer due to wear and tear.

The new creations are in place in time for the half-term break so that youngsters and families can visit the park and take a look.

Former blacksmith Graeme is known for many installations across the county including the First World War memorial bench in Gilesgate, Trimdon Colliery Samaritan Tree and Ushaw Moor Gateway. He has worked alongside Lindsay Archer, the council’s parks and countryside programme officer, on the project.

He said: “It’s been a wonderful project and a great opportunity to work with Lindsay and the team at Hardwick. It’s been amazing to see how many families, particularly children enjoy the park and I hope that the sculptures will attract even more interest and enjoyment.”

Alan Patrickson, Durham County Council’s corporate director of neighbourhoods and climate change, said: “These fantastic sculptures will help children and families to spend more quality time outside as warmer weather approaches. Graeme has done a brilliant job and the sculptures make a very welcome addition to Hardwick Park.”

A number of events for children are taking place at both Hardwick Park and Wharton Park in Durham City during half-term. Young space enthusiasts can learn what it takes to become an astronaut and “survive in space” through a series of activities at Wharton Park on Wednesday 2 June and Friday 4 June, while a dragon egg hunt is available all week at Hardwick Park.