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DSCN1535 (1)The Friary Guildford, the town’s biggest shopping centre have welcomed a new addition, ‘MOOlissa’ who was officially unveiled to the public last week and will join the rest of the CowParade Surrey herd.

The Friary Guildford commissioned Thomas Duncan Bell, owner of a fashion and clothing business, Team Tops and Corporate Wardrobe, as their artist for the project. Thomas benefits from having strong connections within Surrey and Guildford and has worked with the graphic design and fashion students from Farnborough College of Technology to create this truly eye-catching cow.

DSCN1533Thomas Duncan Bell comments; “All the staff at Team Tops were really pleased to be chosen by The Friary Guildford as their artist of choice! Working with the Farnborough College of Technology graphics and design students has allowed us to create a unique, fashion-savvy looking cow that will appeal to all. It’s important to bring a touch of the social to these types of events and in working with students to generate funds for our local mental health charity Oakleaf Enterprise, we feel that we’re putting an individual spin on community through this exciting, stand-alone initiative, the Surrey Hills Cow Parade!”

Suffering from a bi-polar disorder himself, Thomas is also a mental health ambassador for Oakleaf who are based in Guildford and offer much needed vocational training and support for people with severe mental health conditions. The charity deliver training and work experience in upholstery, horticulture and IT, enabling clients to gain new skills as a first step on their return to the workplace.

DSCN1523Over the last three years, Oakleaf has also delivered a programme of social inclusion activities (ranging from literacy and numeracy sessions, to guitar lessons, meal nights and fitness-based classes). Alongside its counselling services and job seeking support, these activities have all benefited hundreds of local people.

Deepti Parmar, Events and Marketing Executive for Oakleaf Enterprise comments;

“We are delighted to be partnering with The Friary Guildford and Thomas Duncan Bell on such a high profile initiative. Hopefully our cow will be a highly visible landmark in Guildford, raising awareness of the work Oakleaf does in supporting local people with mental ill-health.”

Oakleaf has been confirmed as the base for the new Safe Haven Cafe in Guildford, which opened in April. The service offers a safe, calm and friendly welcome for people and carers in need of emotional and mental support providing an invaluable safe haven to sufferers in Guildford.

DSCN1530 Tim Metson, CowParade Leader comments: “Surrey Hills CowParade 2016 gives sponsors the chance to connect with millions of people as the cows will feature on a specially designed APP where their GPS location can be tracked and members of the public will be able to ‘check in’ to find out more information about the sponsor and charity. It therefore offers a huge, unique PR and marketing opportunity that should generate international interest. The trick will be to create a cow that will raise lots of money at auction!”

The cows will be put out to graze and will be dotted around Surrey from June until the end of August for all to see and then the fun really begins! A specially designed app, created by digital design agency Akiko Design, is free to download from cowparadesurreyhills.com and will allow you to ‘check in’ to each cow as it’s found. You’ll discover lots about each cow, be able to win rosettes, take part in quizzes and more. Those who find the most cows will be entered into a prize draw to win a luxury Kuoni holiday for two to Mauritius!

The autumn will see the cows auctioned off for charity. Each cow sponsor gets to choose a charity of their own to benefit from half of the auction proceeds, with the other 50 per cent going to the Surrey Hills Trust Fund, established in partnership with the Community Foundation for Surrey to conserve and protect the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The fund supports local community projects and enterprise schemes that benefit and enhance the Surrey Hills.

Wendy Varcoe, Executive Director of the Community Foundation for Surrey comments; “The Surrey Hills Trust Fund is an exciting local initiative enabling local residents to donate now to protect and conserve the stunning natural landscape and help local communities to access and enjoy the Surrey Hills for generations to come.”

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To find out more about the Surrey Hills Trust Fund visit http://www.surreyhills.org/trust-fund/

To find out more about Okaleaf Enterprise, visit: http://www.oakleaf-enterprise.org