• Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

230719shauntom3Opencast chief executive Tom Lawson and the company's Shaun the Sheep sculpture

A flock of Shaun the Sheep sculptures has appeared across Newcastle after the 2023 St Oswald’s Art Trail was unveiled – and tech consultancy Opencast has joined the trail with its own bee-themed Shaun.

Opencast’s Shaun (pictured) has been designed to create a real buzz on the trail – and a great wildflower seed giveaway running alongside aims to help make the UK a better ‘pollen-nation’.

The Shaun the Sheep on the Tyne Art Trail is in support of St Oswald’s Hospice, a North East charity providing specialist care for adults, young people, babies and children with life-limiting conditions. The art trail runs until 27 September.

Opencast’s Shaun, created by award-winning artist Lynne Hollingsworth, takes pride of place on the trail outside Newcastle Central Station, focusing attention on the importance of bees in nature, as well as the work of local community projects.

The Opencast sculpture – one of 45 specially commissioned Shaun artworks on display across the city – is expected to be seen by up to 25,000 people a day, as more than 1.5 million people swarm in and out of the North East’s busiest transport hub over the next 10 weeks.

The bee-themed sculpture reflects the importance of sustainability and biodiversity to Opencast as a business, as well as highlighting the impact of activity in the community. Opencast is committed to improve the environment – and has a £200,000+ charity programme with local grassroots charities among the beneficiaries.

As well as its Shaun sculpture, Opencast has created a hive of free-bees and family activities to support local pollinators – and is offering everyone a free packet of bee-friendly wildflower seed mix to add colour to gardens and community spaces.

Opencast chief executive Tom Lawson said: “We are delighted to sponsor St Oswald’s through the Shaun the Sheep on the Tyne art trail. We are a purpose-driven business – and our people are committed to making a positive impact on society.

“Our Shaun sculpture is a fun project with a serious message. Pollinators are vital to our environment and are responsible for a third of the food that we eat but they are in decline on a global scale as they face habitat loss, urbanisation and threats from herbicides and insecticides. We hope our family-friendly educational free-bees and our great wildflower seed giveaway will help make a positive impact on pollinator numbers in the North East.

“We’re committed to doing our bit to improve the environment in and beyond the North East – including efforts to decarbonise our own operations and support biodiversity. Our Shaun the Sheep BeeKind project is another step on our journey to make a positive impact on society”

The first people to see Opencast’s Shaun up close and personal at Central Station this week were buzzing. Glasgow mum Mary Murray (pictured, top left) is holidaying in Whitley Bay with her son and her own mum. Mary had travelled into Newcastle for the day and had spotted several of the Shaun the Sheep sculptures.

“They’re very colourful, particularly the sheep painted like a bee – they really brighten the city up. It’s a lovely idea to raise money for a charity and gives families something to do over the holidays,” she said.

People can collect free wildflower seeds and download free bee resources – details are available by entering the code on Opencast sculpture into the trail’s official Wild in Art app. 

Opencast’s Shaun the Sheep sculpture is on display until 27 September at Newcastle Central Station, postcode NE1 5DF. It is located immediately outside the station entrance opposite Starbucks. Find it at what3words.com/part.silver.ledge

Find out more about the 2023 Shaun the Sheep on the Tyne Art Trail, including a dedicated trail map and app to help navigate to each sculpture, at www.shaunonthetyne.co.uk/art-trail