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Dorchester waves goodbye to Dippy

Dressed in Dippy tees and waving green flags, over 250 children from Dorchester schools excitedly gathered in Brewery Square on Friday afternoon to bid farewell to Dippy the Diplodocus.

The crowd paraded through the town, following the dinosaur footprints down South Street to Dorset County Museum, where the Natural History Museum’s iconic cast has amazed over 140,000 visitors during his record breaking 12-week stay in Dorset.

Gathering in the Museum’s Victorian Hall, the children and their families assembled around the 21-metre-long and 4-metre-wide skeleton to sing a farewell song to the town’s special guest. 

Written by Hanna Trevorrow, Music Coordinator at DASP (Dorset Area Schools Partnership) especially for Skylarks Choir to perform at the opening of the tour in February, Hanna has since personally taught the song to over 1000 school children, becoming a local hit.

Helping to organise the closing celebrations, Hanna says: “It is so fantastic to give the children from Dorchester the opportunity to say goodbye to Dippy. The song is very catchy and the children love it! With the link between the Museum and local schools, it’s another way for children to access Dippy and learn all about him, whilst bringing the community together.”

Dippy has been the heart and soul of Dorchester for the past three months, with the town becoming a hive of activity for locals and tourists alike - the total number of visitors doubled initial predictions. The local community have embraced Dippy, with the Jurassic Coast 

Trust hosting Dippy-themed events which have been enjoyed by around 25,000 people from Exeter to Bournemouth and everywhere in between.

Dippy on Tour has been brought to Dorset in partnership with the Garfield Weston Foundation which has just made its £1billionth donation in its 60th Anniversary Year. Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation, says: “We look to work in partnership with inspiring and engaging causes that make a real difference so it is very exciting to see the impact Dippy is already making in encouraging people to venture outdoors and reigniting children’s curiosity with nature. We hope Dippy will leave an inspiring legacy in Dorchester and look forward to seeing him settle into his new home in Birmingham. What a wonderful way to celebrate Garfield Weston’s 60th year!” 

Local businesses have reported an increase in footfall in the area since Dippy took up residency. Phil Gordon from the Dorchester Business Improvement District says: “Dippy’s interest has been phenomenal. A good percentage of families visiting Dippy have taken the opportunity to explore the town, with many businesses, especially in hospitality, reporting a 25% increase in business compared to the same period last year.”

Dorset County Museum have been overwhelmed by the response from the community coming together, and the vast numbers of visitors who have travelled across the south west to see Dippy in Dorset.

Jon Murden, Director of Dorset County Museum says: “We are overwhelmed by how many people have come to the Museum since we opened Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure on 10th February. Beforehand, we had set ourselves an ambitious target but Dippy’s popularity has exceeded all our expectations and has proven to be our most successful exhibition ever."

Published by Dorset County Museum Friday 4th May 2018

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Dorchester waves goodbye to Dippy