Julia’s House makes a splash with The Great Tail Trail

More than 40 giant mermaid tail sculptures will be creating a wave of excitement across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) in the spring of 2025 and raising vital funds for the Dorset children’s hospice charity, Julia’s House.

A UK first

The Great Tail Trail is the UK’s first ever mermaid tail sculpture trail. For 8 weeks from 5 April 2025 the colourful sculptures, which are 1.8 metres tall, will be on display in popular locations across BCP – you’ll find them along the coast and in the towns and parks, shining a light on the landmarks and culture that are at the heart of our beautiful area.

The trail was launched at an event at Rockwater restaurant and bar in Branksome Chine, where the very first giant mermaid tail sculpture, designed by internationally acclaimed local artist Stuart Semple, was revealed.

Stuart says, “It’s an honour to be chosen as the first artist to paint one of the giant mermaid tails. The work that Julia’s House does is really, really important. It helps so many families, and to be able to contribute my art to something like The Great Tail Trail means the world to me.”

As well as encouraging local residents to re-discover the towns they love, the fin-tastic public art spectacle is expected to attract thousands of visitors from outside the area, providing a welcome boost for local businesses and raising the profile of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

Vikki Slade, Leader of BCP Council welcomed news of the trail: “I am delighted that The Great Tail Trail is coming to BCP in 2025. This will create a wonderful tourist attraction for local people and visitors to our area and will do so much to raise the profile of our local children’s hospice, Julia’s House. Having visited them on several occasions I know first-hand the inspirational work that they do to support seriously ill children and their families. I would encourage everyone to get involved and look forward to taking part in the trail myself.”

A community art adventure

Each of the giant mermaid tail sculptures will be sponsored by a local business or organisation and given its own unique and eye-catching design by specially-commissioned locally and nationally-renowned artists. Businesses already confirmed as sponsors include Organix, London Business Forum, London Land Group, Twenty7Tec, Norco, Bournemouth Water and local full-service marketing and design agency, Fathom, who are creative partners for the trail.

Nikki Barry, Sustainability Manager for Organix, commented: “We are deeply honoured to be part of this wonderful initiative in support of a truly deserving charity that holds a special place in our hearts. Having been involved with this charity over the years, we recognise the profound impact it has on our community. The Great Tail Trail will bring colour, vibrancy and excitement, inspiring families to spend time outside together in our beautiful area.”

Schools, nurseries and youth groups get to join in the fun too, adopting and designing their own smaller Tiny Tail sculpture, around 60 of which will form part of the main art trail.

At the end of the 8-week free family friendly trail, a grand farewell event sees all 100 of the one-off artist-designed sculptures brought together under one roof. The giant sculptures will then be auctioned at a separate event to raise critical funds for Julia’s House, which relies on public funding to provide its life-changing care.

While the giant sculptures head off to their new forever homes, the Tiny Tails will return to their school or community group, as a lasting reminder of the project.

Raising vital funds

The Great Tail Trail is brought to Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole by Julia’s House and Wild in Art, the leading producer of spectacular public art events. Wild in Art trails can be found across the UK and worldwide, bringing communities together and leaving a lasting legacy. Julia’s House and Wild in Art have collaborated on art trails previously, in 2011 with the Pride in Bournemouth lion trail and in Swindon last year with The Big Dog Art Trail, both of which raised awareness and funds for the children’s hospice charity.

“While Julia’s House is known and supported locally, our costs are increasing along with the demand for our service,” explains Julia’s House Public Fundraising Manager, Laura Maidment. “We rely on public support to provide our critical care and each year we need to raise more money to ensure we can continue to be there for every family that needs us. The Great Tail Trail will help us fundraise and reach people and businesses who don’t yet know about the lifeline of care we provide in the local community.

“We’ve especially chosen the mermaid tail sculpture as we have a Mermaid Suite at our Dorset hospice where we look after children at the end of their lives and support their families – it felt important to connect the trail directly to our care.”

Charlie Langhorne, Managing Director and Co-Founder, Wild in Art says: “It’s great to be back in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, teaming up once again with Julia’s House. Our events enable thousands of people of all ages to experience art by making it part of everyday life. They encourage exploration and drive footfall, creating a collective feeling of community and pride, and lead to a positive effect on the local economy. The Great Tail Trail is a fantastic opportunity for businesses, the creative sector and children and young people to come together to create something very special.”

As Dorset’s local children’s hospice charity, Julia’s House cares for the most seriously ill children in the county, many of whom need 24-hour care for their complex and often rare medical conditions.  Julia’s House receives just eight per cent Government funding and relies almost entirely on public support to ensure it can continue its vital service amidst rising costs and increased demand.

Get involved
There are lots of sponsorship opportunities available to local businesses and organisations, from becoming a sculpture sponsor through to a headline sponsor for the whole trail or exciting elements such as the Learner Programme. Find out more about The Great Tail Trail and how to become a sponsor at www.greattailtrail.co.uk


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