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How the Elmer trail brought millions of pounds into Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 February 2020 | UPDATED: 10:42 05 February 2020

Sebastian enjoying the Elmer trail  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sebastian enjoying the Elmer trail Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Nearly 400,000 people visited Ipswich for Elmer’s Big Parade last summer – bringing a massive £2.4million boost to the town’s economy.

Infographic showing the boost to Ipswich from Elmer's Big Parade Picture: ST ELIZABETH HOSPICEInfographic showing the boost to Ipswich from Elmer's Big Parade Picture: ST ELIZABETH HOSPICE

Three in four visitors who took part in the art trail spent more time in Ipswich because of it, organisers have revealed, and it raised just over a quarter of a million pounds for St Elizabeth Hospice.

Striking elephant sculptures - bearing all sorts of designs, from the traditional patchwork Elmer to the celebrity-themed Elphis and Sir Elephant John - adorned almost every street corner last summer.

Now it has been revealed the average family spent £34 walking from Elmer to Elmer - meaning the trail brought an extra spend of around £2.4million - double that of the Pigs Gone Wild version in 2016.

"On top of being a great cause and bringing a lot of enjoyment to families all summer we can now see that Elmer provided a huge economic boost to the town," said David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council.

Norman Lloyd and Jan Parry officially opened the Elmer trail with a ribbon cutting  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNNorman Lloyd and Jan Parry officially opened the Elmer trail with a ribbon cutting Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

"I don't know what the hospice have got planned next, but we'll be very keen to work with them to help make it another big success. "Ipswich Borough Council was proud to help out with Elmer's Big Parade."

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MORE: We'll miss you, Elmer - Looking back at an elephant-astic summer

Overall, 390,000 visitors engaged with the Elmer trail - a 63% increase from Pigs Gone Wild - with participants revealing they really enjoyed exploring parts of Ipswich they were less likely to visit normally.

Almost 20% of those who took part in the trail came from outside Suffolk - while 70% said it was their main reason for being in the town.

David Ellesmere pictured with “The Room in the Elephant” at the Buttermarket - part of the Elmer art trail  Picture: David EllesmereDavid Ellesmere pictured with “The Room in the Elephant” at the Buttermarket - part of the Elmer art trail Picture: David Ellesmere

Revealing there could soon be another animal-themed art trail arriving in Ipswich, new St Elizabeth Hospice chief executive Ru Watkins said: "Having recently joined the charity, I have been overwhelmed by the care that we provide and the difference we make to local families.

"I'm pleased to report that 96% of people rated Elmer's Big Parade trail as good to excellent - a testament to the support we had from our sponsors and partners throughout.

"We would like to say a big thank you to the community for their help and we are excited to be talking to Wild in Art about a new trail in the future so watch this space."

MORE: Everyone loves Elmer! Why the art trail has been such a success

Several local businesses sponsored elephant sculptures - from the University of Suffolk to the Ipswich Building Society (IBS).

Dhanya, Lakshya and Kavin next to 'Stella the storyteller' Elmer  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNDhanya, Lakshya and Kavin next to 'Stella the storyteller' Elmer Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Richard Norrington, IBS chief executive, said: "The trail was certainly a huge success, bringing in visitors from across Suffolk and beyond - and we had a marked increase in visitors to our branch."

In total, £261,500 was generated by the Elmer campaign for the hospice, which supports people with progressive and terminal illnesses.


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