A gorilla from Exmouth has won the people’s vote at Babbacombe Model Village.

The Torquay attraction hosted gorillas created by South West schools and colleges as part of Paignton Zoo’s Great Gorillas Project.

Carnaby, by Exmouth Community College, came first. Second place went to Andy, by Tower House School, and the third spot went jointly to Greg, by Torquay Academy, and Drake, by Brixham Church of England Primary School.

Carnaby, who spent the summer at the Phoenix Arts Centre in Exeter, was designed by 12-year old Jack Woodthorpe. The red double-decker bus idea was influenced by the students’ interest in Pop Art, especially the work of Peter Blake. The adverts and figures on the bus add gorilla related detail.

Judith Langlois, from the Exmouth Community College Art Department, said: “Students were shown the Paignton Zoo presentation about the plight of gorillas in the wild, then asked to design a gorilla. With about 1,400 students in our years 7, 8 and 9 classes, that meant a lot of gorillas! The Art staff voted for their favourite. Carnaby was an easy choice, as it was such a strong and unusual design. We were quite surprised to find that Jack was from year 7!”

Carnaby was painted by a number of volunteers from all years at the College in their free time, at lunchtimes and after school. The very detailed nature of the design meant that only a small number of students could work on the gorilla at any one time.

Judith again: “The College wanted to get involved with the Great Gorillas Project as we thought it was a very worthwhile cause and using art to raise money seemed like a brilliant idea! Also, as designing a gorilla was such an unusual thing to do, we thought it would really motivate and excite the students - which it did!

“The students really enjoyed seeing the painting of the gorilla develop over time, and were excited to see gorillas in various places in Exeter and Torquay over the summer. We are extremely pleased to have won the vote at Babbacombe Model Village. Carnaby is currently residing at the entrance to the Art department - we have not yet decided on a permanent location.”

The Great Gorillas Project celebrated Paignton Zoo’s 90th birthday and raised funds for gorilla conservation and for Children’s Hospice South West. Life-size model gorillas were sponsored by businesses and community groups, painted in original designs by specially-commissioned artists and displayed in public, creating a unique art trail around Exeter and the English Riviera.

The Model Village, which is celebrating its 50th birthday this year, recreated the trail in miniature around its world-famous landscaped grounds.

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