Pride of lions to be unleashed onto streets

A blue lion sculpture with a gold mane outside Gloucester Cathedral on a sunny day
The lions will be released onto the streets of Cheltenham and Gloucester next year [Anna Lythgoe]

A pride of 30 lions will prowl the streets to raise money for proposed new cancer facilities.

Each animal sculpture has been individually decorated by artists, and will take to the streets of Cheltenham and Gloucester in summer 2025.

Businesses are being asked to sponsor the lions, which will be auctioned off to raise money after the "Lions At Large" trail.

Organised by Cheltenham and Gloucester Hospitals Charity, a major fundraising appeal for the new facilities in Cheltenham will be released later in 2024.

A blue lion sculpture with a gold mane on Cheltenham Promenade
The lions will be auctioned after they have graced Gloucestershire's streets and landmarks [Anna Lythgoe]

The proposed cancer facilities in Cheltenham will include digital consulting rooms, space for "state-of-the-art research", in addition to a therapeutic outside space.

Richard Smith, associate director at the hospitals charity, said there was a poignant reason why lions were picked for the trail.

"We are so excited to announce this art trail, and for our lions to be at large across Cheltenham and Gloucester," Mr Smith.

"The trail features a lion as these incredible animals represent the courage of all those who face cancer not only as a patient but as a loved one."

A boy smiles as he touches the chin of a blue lion sculpture with a gold mane in a park
Schools and youth groups will also be supported by the project [Anna Lythgoe]

The charity has partnered with Wild At Heart, which was responsible for organising trails across London during the 2012 Olympics

There will also be the opportunity to support a learning programme for schools and youth groups, who will receive a little lion sculpture to decorate.

Both Cheltenham and Gloucester BIDs have signed up to be the presenting partners for the trail in their respective areas.

Gloucester BID Manager Emily Gibbon said they were extremely proud to be supporting the trail and the charity.

“We are thrilled about the opportunity it brings for our local people, businesses and the economy of Gloucestershire," Mrs Gibbon said.

"We can’t wait for the streets to be roaring with fun during the summer of 2025 and of course to help raise funds for this important cause."

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