Dennington pupils wave goodbye to Elmer before Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 18:04 29 March 2019 | UPDATED: 18:05 29 March 2019

Pupils who helped design 'Waddles' the Dennington Primary School Elmer.


Pupils who helped design 'Waddles' the Dennington Primary School Elmer. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Rachel Edge

Elephants might be known for their stomping, but this Elmer for a local primary school likes to waddle.


Children at Dennington Primary School, near Framlingham, waved goodbye to their quirky Elmer on Monday, March 25 before it waddled to join the 99 other young Elmers in the Learning Herd for this year’s Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk.

Aptly named “Waddles”, the Elmer has been a key focus for the pupils for the last year as the kids worked hard to make their Elmer stand out among the herd.

The elephant boasts a design including local village landmarks, as well as the infamous Dennington ducks that share the village with the locals.

All children at the school were asked to submit their designs for the Elmer, but as senior teaching assistant Julie Beecroft explained, selecting a winner was a hard task.

Fred with 'Waddles' the Dennington Primary School Elmer.

Picture: RACHEL EDGEFred with 'Waddles' the Dennington Primary School Elmer. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

“We’ve taken bits of different kids’ designs,” Mrs Beecroft said. “Some of the designs were fantastic, and the kids have enjoyed every minute of it.

“Most of them have had a go at painting, and they all had great ideas.”

Although remaining tight-lipped about the final design, Mrs Beecroft explained that Waddles is painted pale blue to reflect the school uniform and that there was “no chance” they could forget about the ducks.

Pupil Fred Thomas hastily mentioned the ducks, saying: “We’ve got hundreds of ducks in our village, hundreds.

“They always come in to our field – I think they just love the village – we love them coming into the playground and saying hi to us all.”

Mrs Beecroft added: “When they have babies, the baby ducklings walk everywhere and come in the school yard and try to get in the dinner hall when we’re eating dinner.”

The school is planning on running a school trip so the pupils can visit their Elmer on the parade in Ipswich, which is being organised by St Elizabeth Hospice.

Schools across the county were invited to design young Elmers to join the “Learning Herd” – a group of around 100 smaller Elmers participating alongside the 55 larger Elmers.

Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk will run from June to September 2019, celebrating the 30th anniversary of both St Elizabeth Hospice and the much loved Elmer the Patchwork Elephant book series.

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