Top dog meets a snowdog

Press Release
June 2016

Working in an office can be a dog’s life for black Labrador, Topsy – the only pooch among the 180-strong staff at a North East construction services company.

Snowdog meets Topsy

But her face was anything but hangdog when a new canine companion arrived – in the shape of a three foot tall Snowdog.

Newcastle-based NBS, the UK’s leading provider of construction information and knowledge management services, is sponsoring one of the 60 sculptures which will form Great North Snowdogs; a large scale art and cultural event organised by St Oswald’s Hospice and Wild in Art.

And 10-year-old Topsy, a hearing dog for NBS Information Specialist Susan McKeown was first in line to greet the Snowdog when it arrived at NBS’s headquarters at the Old Post Office, St Nicholas Street.

“Her face really lit up,” said Susan.

“She’s used to being, not only top dog – but the only dog - in the office, so I think she was delighted to see another, albeit much larger, pal.”

Sadly for Topsy, though, the Snowdog was only paying a fleeting visit on its way to be decorated as part of the project which is in aid of St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice.

It will then take its place on the Great North Snowdog trail, across North and South Tyneside, Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland, for a 10-week period during autumn and winter.

“This project looks set to be a key event in the region, attracting visitors and raising funds and awareness of the superb – and vital – work of St Oswald’s Hospice,” said NBS chief executive Richard Waterhouse.

“We’re delighted to be involved and looking forward very much to seeing our Snowdog take his or her place on the trail.”

After the trail, there will be one final chance for the general public to see the Great North Snowdogs sculptures all together at the farewell event planned for early December. The dogs will then be auctioned to raise money for St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice.

The Snowdog sculptures have been inspired by the well-known character from the Raymond Briggs novel, The Snowman™ and the Snowdog; a story of how a dog made from snow comes to life to comfort a little boy grieving for the loss of his pet dog.

Jane Hogan, Great North Snowdogs Project Lead at St Oswald’s Hospice, which provides short breaks and respite for children from across the region and support for their families, said: “We chose the Snowdog because it’s a story as much about hope and friendship as it is of loss. It’s about creating magical moments and special memories for people and St Oswald’s is about making the most of time, no matter how long that maybe.

“We hope, through the project, to raise vital funds and awareness of our work so we can reach out to more children and families who need our support – and we’re very grateful to NBS for their generosity in sponsoring a Snowdog.”

For further information about NBS, visit

Notes to editors

ABOUT NBS: NBS, specialist provider of technical information for construction industry professionals, offers essential, innovative products and services, highly valued by those working in architecture, construction, design and engineering.

The premier source of construction-related information, NBS has produced the recognised national standard specification system for the UK for more than 40 years. It provides solutions for a broad range of new build, refurbishment, retrofit, landscaping and domestic projects for construction professionals. Delivered within a powerful software package, NBS’s specification products continue to develop, leading an evolution of the specification and procurement process for buildings in the UK and overseas. NBS also provides solutions for contract administration and project information management.

NBS Create is a ground-breaking new specification tool that ensures all documentation works together intelligently throughout the entire project timeline, from concept stage to completion and beyond, to save time and money. More than 5,000 offices across the UK subscribe to NBS products, including 96 of the top 100 AJ practices.

The award winning NBS National BIM Library is also the primary source of free-to-use Building Information Modelling (BIM) content in the UK. It contains thousands of generic and proprietary BIM objects authored to the trusted NBS standard, all of which are data rich and are integrated with the world leading NBS specification software.

NBS is part of RIBA Enterprises Ltd, the knowledge management company of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). RIBA Enterprises employs 250 staff and has offices in London, Newcastle upon Tyne and Newark.

For more information, interviews, or images, please call HFPR Ltd on 0191 285 7100.

St Oswald’s Hospice provides specialist care for North East adults, young people and children with incurable conditions.  The charity needs to raise over £7 million each year through voluntary giving and legacies to continue to provide services to the local community.  No charge is made to patients for the services provided, ensuring hospice care is available to all. For more information please visit externallink

Wild in Art is one of the UK’s leading creative producers of mass-appeal public art events, which engage residents and tourists alike, through the creation of citywide trails of uniquely painted sculptures. From crashes of rhinos in Sydney and parliaments of owls in Birmingham to BookBenches in London and and Commonwealth Games Clyde mascots in Glasgow, Wild in Art events have animated cities and enthralled people the world over, raising over £6m for charity partners along the way. Wild in Art also provide unique art education resources which engage and inspire young people and enhance learning across the curriculum.

The Snowman™ and The Snowdog: Originally published in 1978, The Snowman, created and illustrated by Raymond Briggs has become one of the world’s most popular children’s books.  Available in 15 languages it has sold in excess of 8.5 million copies worldwide with over 3 million of these sales in the UK published under Puffin editions.  Adapted for screen by producer John Coates, the Oscar-nominated animation launched on Channel 4 in its inaugural year in 1982 and has been repeated every Christmas since.  The sequel, The Snowman and The Snowdog premiered on Channel 4 on Christmas Eve 2012 and was seen by over 10 million people over the festive period.   The Snowman brand enjoys an international audience with global broadcast of the sequel, along with an array of consumer products now available.  Snowman Enterprises Limited (SEL) is a Penguin owned company.

Tyne and Wear Metro is Great North Snowdogs presenting partner. DB Regio Tyne and Wear Ltd operate Metro stations and trains on behalf of Nexus, under a seven year concession agreement.  For further information please contact Account Manager, Ruth Lawson, or Senior PR Executive, Aranda Rahbarkouhi at Gardiner Richardson on 0191 261 4250 or email or

Nexus owns, manages and is modernising the Tyne and Wear Metro in the £350m Metro All Change Modernisation programme. For further details please contact David Punton, Communications Officer, at Nexus on 0191 203 3691 or

Snowdogs by the Sea: During September to December 2016, Martlet’s Hospice is also hosting a complementary arts trail, Snowdogs by the Sea, across Brighton and Hove. For more information, please visit: externallink and externallink