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On Saturday 7th September, a mixed group of a dozen or so morris dancers, made their way around the giant sculptures of the Gromit Unleashed Trail in a fundraising challenge called ‘Dances with Dogs’ to raise money for Bristol Children’s Hospital charity, the Grand Appeal.

Rag Morris, the Morris dance team attached to the University of Bristol, kitted out in brilliantly coloured ‘rag shirts’, brought its inimitable repertoire of dances, including styles originating from the Cotswold Hills, to the trail.

Starting the first dance with Grrrrromit at Windmill Hill City Farm at 10am, the team danced for most of the day, performing traditional Morris dances at the giant Gromit sculptures. Those visited included the Gromits at St. Mary Redcliffe, Redcliff Street, King Street, The Centre, College Green, Bristol Aquarium, At-Bristol, Millennium Square and the Central Library before taking a well earned rest for a spot of lunch.

Once refuelled, the uphill climb took them to St. George's, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Victoria Rooms, Royal West of England Academy and Elton Road before heading down to The Art of Gromit Unleashed Shop to dance for those waiting to see Gizmo. After calling into the Colston Hall it was off to have A Close Shave at the Tourist Information Centre, before visiting the Arnolfini where their performance was filmed. On the home straight, the final dances visited both the Gromits at M Shed and then on the quay alongside The Matthew and Brunel's ss Great Britain. Following a stop at the home of Gromit creators Aardman Animations, the 32nd and final dance was performed in full view of Gromberry at The Pumphouse, after which some well deserved refreshment finished off a cracking day.

Rag Morris member Gavin Skinner and organiser of the Dances with Dogs tour, said: “Like Wallace & Gromit, Morris dancing is quintessentially English and a bit quirky and so ‘Dances with Dogs’ seemed like the perfect, celebratory way to mark the final weekend of the Gromit Unleashed Trail.”

As well as jingling bells, the Rag Morris team were collecting and handing out leaflets to raise money for the Gromit Unleashed initiative, organised by Aardman and Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal.

There is also a just giving page set up at http://www.justgiving.com/DancesWithDogs should people wish to make a donation.

Rag Morris is a mixed morris side that has been based at the University of Bristol Students ’ Union since 1981 and draws its members mainly from students, staff and alumni of the university. To find out more about joining, email bag@ragmorris.com.

All money raised through Dances with Dogs will go towards the Grand Appeal’s £3.5m fundraising campaign to support the expansion of Bristol Children’s Hospital. http://www.grandappeal.org.uk/

You can also follow Rag Morris on Facebook and Twitter:
http://www.facebook.com/RagMorris
https://twitter.com/RagMorris
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