(Western Morning News (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) It was a question that as a journalist you don't get to ask very often.
"Hello, this is the Western Morning News. You've got a lot of sheep. Could we dye some of them blue, please"? But Rik Turner, who styles himself Director of the Flock at The Big Sheep tourist attraction near Bideford, was not fazed in the slightest.
"Of course we can do most things and would love to help" he said. "Really like the idea and this would be fantastically visual".
As it turned out our request was positively modest, by Big Sheep standards. "We have done Union Jack sheep, a St George's flag sheep and can dye sheep whatever colour you need," Rik said. "We love to work with you." The attraction's staff set to work with the dye, photographer Richard Austin was dispatched and Big Sheep showman John Eason - pictured reading the WMN on Sunday - set his collie Sophie to work rounding up the unusually coloured ovines. the results can be seen here.
And the sheep? They were fine and will be sheared of their bright blue fleeces shortly. Anne Tattersal, of The Big Sheep, said they dyed 24 in all.
"John will probably be telling our visitors that this is a new breed of sheep," she added. "He's a great showman."
Blue sheep are just one aspect of the WMN's marketing campaign to promote the new Sunday edition - the biggest the title has ever embarked upon.
On the theme of 'the same...but different' to highlight our move from six-daysa-week to seven-day publishing, we also made a television advert, which has been shown over the past week, featuring six yellow chicks and one blue one and put up huge billboard posters across the Westcountry promoting the new title. Lesley Shorrocks of Plymouth-based Sigma, who managed the campaign said: "This is an exciting time, not just for the Western Morning News but the media industry as a whole and we wish the WMN on Sunday and the whole team all the best."
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