L - R Jane Hogan Pam Royle and Daniel Stone with DogfishONE of the stars of a region-wide art event which opens this month has come face to face with the TV presenter who designed his distinctive look.

Dogfish is one of 59 giant sculptures taking part in Great North Snowdogs, a free public art trail which opens across Sunderland, Tyneside, Newcastle and Gateshead on 19 September.

And, with just a fortnight to go until the launch, Dogfish stopped off at the ITV studios, at Gateshead, to meet his creator; presenter Pam Royle and the artist who brought her design to life.

Pam was one of dozens of celebrities and artists who put pen to paper to create a unique look for the 1.5m high sculptures, opting for a deep sea theme which was then translated into the finished design by Gateshead artist Daniel Stone.

He spent more than 20 hours painting the Snowdog in acrylic paints before applying a layer of protective varnish to enable it to withstand the attentions of the thousands of visitors expected to follow the 10-week long Great North Snowdog trail.

“He’s done an amazing job,” said Pam who was introduced to Dogfish at the ITV weather garden. “I knew exactly how I wanted it to look and it’s as though Daniel has read my mind. He’s taken all the elements I suggested and turned them into this amazing work of art.”

For Daniel, an art teacher at Westfield School, Gosforth, the Snowdog proved a departure from his usual work, which is mainly on canvas.

“It’s been a challenge,” he said, “but I’ve loved doing it and I’m just pleased Pam’s happy with it.”

Many of the large Snowdogs have been sponsored by North Eats businesses and organisations and Dogfish has been netted by none other than the Blue Reef Aquarium, Whitley bay.

“When Daniel and I started chatting we discovered we have both been frequent visitors to the Aquarium with our children,” said Pam, “so Dogfish really has brought us all together in a lovely way.” 

Great North Snowdogs, which is the brainchild of creative producers Wild in Art, in partnership with Newcastle-based charity, St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice, is inspired by the story The Snowman™ and The Snowdog, by Raymond Briggs.

The main Snowdog trail will follow the route of the Tyne and Wear Metro and will be accompanied by a complementary trail of 97 mini Snowdogs, decorated by school children and community groups from the area.

And, when the trail closes to the public in November, the large Snowdogs will be auctioned to raise funds for the hospice’s children’s service, which provides short breaks and respite for North East children and young people with incurable conditions, and help and support for their families and loved ones.

“This project is already uniting people and places across our region,” said St Oswald’s Hospice project lead, Jane Hogan, “and now we can’t wait to unveil Dogfish and all his canine companions to the public.”

For further information, visit www.greatnorthsnowdogs.co.uk or call 0191 285 0063.