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You herd it here first – Elmers arrive in Ipswich ahead of Big Parade 2019

PUBLISHED: 10:51 14 January 2019

The blank Elmer statues arrive in Ipswich Picture: JENNIE HUTCHINSON

The blank Elmer statues arrive in Ipswich Picture: JENNIE HUTCHINSON

Archant

It’s time to talk about the elephants in the room – 150 to be precise – as they arrived in Ipswich ahead of their transformation into patchwork masterpieces.

Norman Lloyd and Mark Millar of the hospice with Nick Denny of East of England Co-op Picture: JENNIE HUTCHINSONNorman Lloyd and Mark Millar of the hospice with Nick Denny of East of England Co-op Picture: JENNIE HUTCHINSON

The Elmer’s Big Parade art trail will kick off in the town this summer, to collect cash for St Elizabeth Hospice, as the fictional character and Suffolk charity celebrate their 30th birthdays together.

Around 50 blank Elmer the elephant sculptures are now being sent out to artists in Suffolk and beyond for decoration, while 100 smaller ‘young Elmers’ will soon have homes in schools, businesses and organisations who have made fundraising pledges for the project.

• MORE: Everything you need to know about Elmer’s Big Parade

Norman Lloyd, the hospice’s campaign manager, said: “It was a busy time but it is fantastic to have all the sculptures here in Ipswich and to know that the painting can now begin.

“We are indebted to the East of England Co-op for allowing us to use one of their warehouses, as you can imagine 150 elephants take up quite a bit of space and Elmer HQ was definitely not up to the task.”

This is the only time that all of the blank sculptures will be together under one roof.

Smaller Elmers will be picked up by schools, groups and organisations who have made a fundraising pledge and signed up to Elmer’s Learning Herd.

These include the Suffolk Agricultural Association, Larking Gowen, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and many more.

Nick Denny, joint chief executive for the East of England Co-op, said: “We are so excited to be involved with Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk and supporting St Elizabeth Hospice.

“We’re really happy to be able to offer one of our warehouse spaces to keep the herd warm and dry before they step out on parade this summer.”

This year’s trail, run in conjunction with Wild In Art and children’s publisher Andersen Press, follows on from the success of Pigs Gone Wild in 2016. The popular attraction lasted for 10 weeks and was enjoyed by 250,000 people.

It brought with it a £1million boost to the local economy, as well as raising more than £200,000 for the hospice.

There were 40 large pigs, as well as a host of junior pigs sponsored by schools and businesses.

It is hoped 2019’s Elmer’s Big Parade will top the success of Pigs Gone Wild.

“I don’t think I’m too premature in saying it’s going to be huge,” Mr Lloyd added.

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