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Have some fun at the Exeter Festival Blue Boy Trail

Published: 13 June 2019

The Exeter Blueboy Trail The Exeter Festival Blue Boy Trail

The Exeter Festival Blue Boy Trail is your chance to take a step back in history - and have some fun at the same time.

The bright blue statue of a boy can be found at the Princesshay shopping centre in Exeter. It's in a modern setting but is steeped in history and is one of the city's most iconic sculptures.

And now it is the theme for a modern-day trail through the city centre as part of the first ever action-packed Exeter Festival next month.

For one day only, the Blue Boy will brought back to life as your guide on the Exeter Festival Blue Boy Trail, on Sunday July 7. 

The trail is a short family walking route around the key parts of the city, taking in some of the historic highlights. 

Along the way, there will be nine Blue Boy signs to find, showing the Blue Boy enjoying just some of the various sports and activities you can get involved in locally. 

Families can collect a trail map from the Visit Exeter stand in Northernhay Gardens and follow a route from the Blue Boy statue in Princesshay, through Southernhay, past the Cathedral, along the High Street, into Rougemont Gardens and around into Northernhay Gardens.

Once you complete the trail and have found all the Blue Boys along the way, you can bring your completed map to the Visit Exeter stand to claim a small prize.

The statue’s origins date back to 1733. It was modelled on George Wall, an ex-student of the St John’s Hospital School which was once based on the High Street.

The school was a 'bluecoat school' - a type of charity school which was popular from the 16th century onwards. They were known as bluecoat schools because of the distinctive blue uniform worn by pupils.

The original statue was lost when the school was demolished. In 1859, when St John’s Hospital School was rebuilt, four new cast-iron blue boy statues were built

The statue at Princesshay has stood there since the post-war venue opened in the 1950s.

The Exeter Festival runs from July 5 to 7 with most of the action happening in Northernhay Gardens. The highlights include Exeter Films in the Park on Friday July 5, Exeter Festival in the Park with headliners the Hoosiers and Joey the Lips, as well as an array of local bands taking to the stage on Saturday July 6.

A Festival Funday in the Park offers a host of free activities for all the family to enjoy on Sunday July 7. Sponsored by Princesshay, the focus will be on fun, dance, sport, leisure and activities.

From 12pm to 4pm, there will be a free four hour programme of demonstrations, exercise classes and performances on stage delivered by Legacy Leisure, the Committed Dance Co and Brazilian arts group, Capoeira Libertacao. There’s no need to book – just turn up, join in and enjoy the fun.

A host of organisations are organising activities in the park throughout the afternoon, including Exeter City Community Trust, Planet Earth Games, St Luke’s School Sports Partnership, South West Athletics Academy, Committed Dance Company, Ride on Cycling, Exwick Tennis Club, Active Devon, Devon Wildlife Trust and Freemoovement.

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