Page last updated at 06:46 GMT, Monday, 9 November 2009

O'Grady creates penguin artwork

Paul O'Grady's penguin
The penguin is one of 200 on the public art trail

Television and radio presenter Paul O'Grady has created a work of public art for a new trail in Liverpool.

The penguin dressed up as an old lady is one of 200 of the animals across the city over Christmas and New Year for the Go Penguins event.

Birkenhead-born O'Grady has designed "Owl Ma Penguin" which is inspired by his childhood memories of older women, locally called "Mary Ellens".

The Go Penguins project is part of Liverpool's Year of the Environment.

The art trail is being used to highlight the dangers of global warming and polar ice melting.

The entertainer's penguin is 5ft (1.5m) tall and is wearing a leopard skin head scarf and slippers with a fur trim.

If my attempt at being Leonardo Da Vinci can help people stop, have a laugh and think about global warming then I'll be very happy
Paul O'Grady

O'Grady said: "You don't see them any more, but Mary Ellens were complete with hair curlers, wrinkly stockings and an old Mac."

He got involved in the project as a supporter for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

O'Grady's "Owl Ma" will take pride of place at The Adelphi Hotel.

He added: "Penguins are fantastic little animals and it's heartbreaking to think what we're doing to the earth is threatening their very existence.

"If my attempt at being Leonardo Da Vinci can help people stop, have a laugh and think about global warming then I'll be very happy.

"I had a real ball doing this design - I wanted to create the image of some of the women who I would see around Paddy's flower market or on their way to their cleaning jobs."

The public art trail launches on 23 November across Liverpool, St Helens and Wirral until January.

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The penguin art is part of Liverpool's year of the environment initiative



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