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Hoodwinked: Where Are They Now?

23 August 19 words: Joshua Helmer

It wasn’t a fever dream - there was actually a time when the streets of Nottingham were covered in giant, colourfully-painted robin statues, courtesy of Hoodwinked, the Wild in Art public art trail. After being auctioned off to raise money for Nottinghamshire Hospice, those feathery figures ended up here, there and everywhere. With this being the Wild issue, we tried to track a few down… 

It’s the height of summer 2018. Market Square has been transformed into its annual seaside utopia, the air conditioning units of the city are pumping harder than a young Arnold Schwarzenegger and Nottingham’s student population has flown the coop, migrating home to fairer climes. But in their place, a flock of colourful robins have roosted across Nottingham, occupying every corner of the city centre and beyond.

The Hoodwinked Trail introduced thirty robin sculptures to our streets, hand-painted to represent snippets of Nottingham culture, bringing an adventure of avian art to our fair city. Adored by residents and visitors alike, the birds became a beloved fixture of our cityscape during those sultry summer eves. Some birds even became stars in their own right. Who doesn’t remember City Ground Robin sitting stoically in the blazing sun? 

But once the summer was over, and their fifteen minutes of fame had elapsed, the birds were auctioned off in aid of Nottinghamshire Hospice, raising over £130,000 for the charity. As with most who have but the briefest brushes with fame, their stars faded quickly and they have since disappeared from public life, to be remembered only by those curious enough to write articles like this.

So where, might you ask, are those robins now?

Carnival Celebrations Robin & Nottingham Forest Robin
New home: Sherwood
New career: Local Tourism & Literacy Advocate
These two robins, who were originally placed at opposite ends of Parliament Street, have teamed up to form a dynamic duo for the Sherwood community. After Sherwood resident Dan Walker organised a fundraiser in order to bid for the birds, he managed to nab these two feathered friends and have them placed in prime locations. Carnival Celebrations Robin is an ambassador for the area, sitting prominently on the corner of Mansfield Road and Winchester Street, welcoming all visitors to the vibrant corner of the city. Meanwhile, Nottingham Forest Robin has become an advocate for children's literacy, guarding the entrance to Sherwood Library with her floral gaze.

Green Man of Sherwood
New home: Karlsruhe, Germany
New career: International Consul
One of the only birds to continue working in the public sector, Green Man of Sherwood flew over to our German sister city to celebrate fifty years of friendship, where he is busy building relationships as an international ambassador for Nottingham.



What’s Notts Robin & Major Oak Robin
New home: Wes Morgan’s Gym
New career: Personal trainers
Having put in his own years of grind in his early years at Nottingham Forest, Premier League-winning captain of Leicester City Wes Morgan was all too aware of the labours that these hard-working robins were putting themselves through for their craft.

And it was the efforts of What’s Notts Robin, which bared the names of Morgan and other Nottingham celebs, and Major Oak Robin, Morgan’s nickname at Forest, that he admired most. The pair now work alongside Morgan, presumably as part of his personal training team, keeping him in tip-top shape. It’s rumoured their growing influence played a big part in Leicester City’s improved form in the second half of the 2018-19 season.

Hands of Hope Robin
New home: Nottinghamshire Hospice
New career: Charity Support Worker
This little birdie was painted for and by Nottinghamshire Hospice, influenced by their colours and representing those who use the facility and the Hospice family as a whole. While many of the robins have gone on to pursue lucrative careers in sports therapy and corporate hospitality, Hands of Hope Robin always knew his calling was to continue his fine work with the charity.

Local neighbours Derek and Denise Johnstone were lucky enough to nab Hands of Hope Robin in the charity auction and donated the bird back to the Hospice where he now lives, continuing his fine work supporting the wonderful organisation.

Captain Jack Robin
New home: Derek and Denise’s garden
New career: Retired
It turns out our Derek and Denise bought a robin for themselves too, giving Captain Jack a new domestic nest to call home and further bumping up their donation to Nottinghamshire Hospice. What a pair of good eggs.

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