Denise The Dinosaur - a lockdown creation

Denise the Dinosaur – A Lockdown Creation


Linda Lyn Cunningham and partner Kat Rowan have being going around their estate in Burton-on-Trent, England dressed as an inflatable T-Rex Dinosaur and circus ringmaster to bring some 'roaring' laughter to the community every Tuesday 18:00 – 19:00 - It's call 'T-Rex Tuesday'. They also go live on Facebook so that others can view the event and do not have to travel. Kat who is a Head of Science in a local school, is still teaching from home, and Linda has had all her forthcoming theatre work cancelled for the next 6 months.

It initially begun when we went outside to do a 'Dance on your Doorstep' to the song 'Reach up for the Stars' that was organised on social media. We posted a picture of us on our Facebook community page and everyone asked for us to walk past their house - we did a lap of the estate and there were tears of laughter rolling down people’s faces and their faces lit up. People wanted more, so we are now doing 'T-rex Tuesday' every Tuesday on the estate.

The Characters are called Denise The Dinosaur and Didi and you can view our adventures on (our Facebook Page is open so you do not need an account to view and everyone has given their permission to be recorded).

We are posting arts and crafts dinosaur activities and videos every week (by Jane Rose Smith, a local artist) to keep all the Mini Dino's (children) busy (e.g. a dinosaur puppet made out of an old sock, a dinosaur made out of an empty toilet roll, dinosaur masks) and the children are displaying them in their windows and wear them.

We wanted to help those in need or in isolation, so we sent a call for help, and the Local Labour Party who are collaborating with Humanity Unites UK responded. From this, we have set up a partner system with them, so that if anyone needs anything on the estate (food parcel, shopping, an electric meter card topped up, a chat or help of any other kind) they can contact us via our Facebook or post a red sheet on their window. Anyone passing who sees the red sheet rings the local Labour helpline number (leaflets were delivered with paper and the number) or contacts Denise The Dinosaur who delivers, chats, goes shopping or picks up a food parcel etc. for the person. 

We also wanted to create some light and a lasting legacy from these dark times. We are raising money, initially for a dinosaur celebration parade and community get together in the park (where all artwork mini dino’s have created will be shown) on the estate when this is all over. Any additional funds raised will go to the setup and delivery of a charity for the promotion of Arts, Science and Performance Engineering in the area, that delivers workshops, training and performance to people from all ages and backgrounds and provides a space where people of all ages can find help in the use of technological/communication devices. You can donate by clicking here 

Linda says: ‘My work has taken me across the globe but I’ve always wanted to share what I have learned from my many experiences with my local community, and plant some seeds here – this was such an accidental happening and we are absolutely loving all the waving, smiles, dancing and roaring laughter that our community and we are having. As a former health worker, I have found that laughter is such an amazing medicine, and whilst it is a privilege that many of us can connect socially via technology, safe proximal relations are still needed –Denise the Dinosaur walking down these streets doesn’t discriminate - everyone here has windows and doors where you don’t need a telephone line or broadband to see/hear/meet her and Didi. It is something to talk/laugh about, something different to the week – we want to bring some light into people’s lives during these dark times, and it turns out they have also brought so much into ours too – it’s an amazing community!

Denise (Kat) and Didi (Linda) are both from the same household and they use this as their one hour of exercise every Tuesday.

They practice safe distancing (and carry a dinosaur crossing sign with 2 metres on it, in addition to using a whistle to keep people at a distance).

Feel free to donate, watch live online or post your dinosaur activities.