Arthur is among 61 individually designed sculptures which form the trail across North and South Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland and Newcastle, in a fundraising initiative for St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice.

And the artist behind his design, Jeff Rowland, paid him a special visit to unveil a miniature replica.

Jeff, whose work is world renowned, named Arthur after his late father who was a patient at the Hospice.

“The care they gave him during his last days was just amazing,” said Jeff. “He wouldn’t have got that anywhere else. When he was dying they let me bring in some whisky and after I’d poured us both a nip, I said, `I think this is last orders, dad’ – and after we’d had our drink he just slipped away.

“I miss him every day and that’s why I’ll do anything I can to support the Hospice. I was so happy to be asked to paint a Snowdog – and chuffed to bits to see the little replica which is perfect in every way.

“It’s a work of art in itself and I’ve had people from across Europe in touch asking where they can buy them.”

The small, porcelain version of Arthur is one of seven souvenir Snowdogs which have gone on sale as a memento of the Great North Snowdogs trail, to raise money for the Newcastle-based Hospice.

Seven inches long from nose to tail, they come in a presentation box, with hand knitted socks to cover their ears and other designs include Gizmo, with a contoured chrome body, floral patterned Winter Lily, Sparky, white, furry, Roodle and the black The Snowbrador.

Fans can also opt for The Snowdog, based on the original design of the character in the animated film The Snowman and the Snowdog, by Raymond Briggs, with mismatched socks on sticks for ears, gloves for spots and a discarded tangerine for a nose.

The miniature Snowdogs form part of a range of Great North Snowdogs merchandise which also features a soft, plush toy Snowdog, priced at £9.99, T-shirts, mugs, coasters, aprons and tea towels.

Prices start at £1 for postcards and the porcelain Snowdog figures cost £34.99 each.

Anita Ball, head of income generation and marketing at St Oswald’s Hospice, said

“We are delighted with the response to our merchandise, which has already been flying off the shelves.

“It seems everyone wants to own their very own part of the trail and the funds raised are great news for our Children’s Hospice, which will benefit from the proceeds.

“With Christmas coming, we think our Snowdog range would make pawfect gifts.”

All merchandise is available to buy online from http://www.stoswaldsuk.org/shop/ or from St Oswald’s charity shops in Jesmond, Whitley Bay, Eldon Garden Shopping Centre in Newcastle, Gosforth High Street, Sunderland and St Oswald’s Hospice main reception. Visit http://www.stoswaldsuk.org/shop/on-the-high-street/  for shop addresses.

 

To find out more visit www.greatnorthsnowdogs.co.uk.