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Ipswich celebrates 30 years of Elmer the patchwork elephant

PUBLISHED: 19:00 25 May 2019

Chantry Library celebrate Elmer's birthday by holding a special Elmer Day in their newly refurbished library.
Kitty Grindrod in the library.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019

Chantry Library celebrate Elmer's birthday by holding a special Elmer Day in their newly refurbished library. Kitty Grindrod in the library. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Archant 2019

Children at Chantry Library enjoyed the most colourful day of the year this morning as they celebrated 30 years of Elmer the patchwork elephant for Elmer Day.

Chantry Library celebrate Elmer's birthday by holding a special Elmer Day in their newly refurbished library.
Ezra Hunter meets Elmer
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Chantry Library celebrate Elmer's birthday by holding a special Elmer Day in their newly refurbished library. Ezra Hunter meets Elmer Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

13 libraries opened up their doors across Suffolk this morning hosting Elmer celebrations with crafts, story telling, rug ragging, quizzes, and even Elmer themed cupcakes.

Today, marks the 30th anniversary of the first Elmer book, which was inspired by an incident where author David McKee's mixed-race daughter was verbally abused.

McKee's Elmer stories promote acceptance both in other people and ourselves and have sold millions of copies around the world.

Elmer Day focusses on celebrating and shouting about our uniqueness and not shying away from what makes us, us.

Chantry Library celebrate Elmer's birthday by holding a special Elmer Day in their newly refurbished library.
Billy Edwards trying out the crafts.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Chantry Library celebrate Elmer's birthday by holding a special Elmer Day in their newly refurbished library. Billy Edwards trying out the crafts. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Hannah Foulstone, from Suffolk Libraries, said: "I think one of the reasons that Elmer is so popular is because his story is about embracing your differences and teaching children that it is okay to stand out.

"On Elmer day, we are encouraged to dress up in bright colours, create patchwork crafts and support a multi-coloured patchwork elephant because it's a positive message of not letting your differences make you feel down, but letting your uniqueness shine through."

Chantry Library, who recently had a refurbishment to their children's area, were one of the 13 libraries across Suffolk celebrating the anniversary.

Elmer Day comes with added excitement this year as it arrives just weeks ahead of Elmer's Big Parade - Suffolk, this year's art trail organised by St Elizabeth Hospice.

Do you still read your child a bedtime story? Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019Do you still read your child a bedtime story? Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Following the huge success of 'Pigs Gone Wild' in 2016, St Elizabeth Hospice have teamed up with Wild in Art, Andersen Press and several businesses, schools and youth groups to create an 'Elmer Trail', comprising 50 Elmer statues and around 100 smaller 'young Elmers'.

A mammoth 250,000 people engaged with Pigs Gone Wild and the hospice expects that the parade of Elmers will attract even more people to Ipswich this summer.

Elmers Big Parade - Suffolk will run from June to September 2019.

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