Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson kicks off Horsham Year of Culture tour

The launch of the Gruffalo trail for year of culture at Leonardslee, Lower Beeding, Horsham with author Julia Donaldson. Pic Steve Robards SR1900634 SUS-191001-161308001
The launch of the Gruffalo trail for year of culture at Leonardslee, Lower Beeding, Horsham with author Julia Donaldson. Pic Steve Robards SR1900634 SUS-191001-161308001

An army of cuddly Gruffalo toys have been sent out on a global tour from Horsham, by the fictional monster’s creator, Julia Donaldson.

The Global Gruffalo project was launched at Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens in Lower Beeding on Thursday at a special reception, which saw the former children’s laureate treat invited guests to a special performance of the Gruffalo, her most famous story.

The launch of the Gruffalo trail for year of culture at Leonardslee, Lower Beeding, Horsham with author Julia Donaldson. Pic Steve Robards SR1900670 SUS-191001-161342001

The launch of the Gruffalo trail for year of culture at Leonardslee, Lower Beeding, Horsham with author Julia Donaldson. Pic Steve Robards SR1900670 SUS-191001-161342001

Guests and children from Holy Trinty Church of England Primary School in Lower Beeding, looked on as Julia donned a pair of ears and a tail as she took on the role of the story’s hero, the mouse. She was supported by local business people including Leonardslee boss Adam Streeter, who played the Gruffalo, and children’s entertainer Tomfoolery, who played the fox.

The reception and year one pupils joined in on every punchline during the 10 minute performance, which served as an introduction to the Global Gruffalo event. A total of 20 businesses, including Gatwick Airport, Swan Walk Shopping Centre, Saxon Weald, The Capitol Theatre and Creative Assembly, have sponsored a soft toy Gruffalo and have committed to sending each of them around the world, spreading the word of the Horsham District Year of Culture 2019.

The author said: “Global Gruffalo is such a fun way of promoting the Horsham District Year of Culture 2019 and celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Gruffalo. I can’t wait to see where they end up.”