What happened to the Elmers after the big parade?
PUBLISHED: 08:00 26 July 2020
A year after they took to the streets of Ipswich, we find out what happened to the elephants of Elmer’s Big Parade.
From Artiphant and Bee Kind to Elefont and Tigelephant, the much-loved Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk brought trunk loads of colour to Ipswich, brightening up the lives of many while helping to raise vital funds for St Elizabeth Hospice.
More than 50 of the individually decorated elephant statues formed a trail throughout the town last summer, with families and visitors eager to spot them all.
The trail was based on the popular children’s book character Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, by author David McKee.
The event was organised in conjunction with Wild in Art and Andersen Press and coincided with the 30th anniversary of both the hospice and the book.
In October 2019, the herd were auctioned off - raising more than £260,000 for the hospice, with all the Elmers now enjoying their new homes.
Since being auctioned for the charity, the herd of Elmers can now be found in locations across East Anglia and beyond, including The Galley Restaurant in Woodbridge, Beccles Hospital and aboard Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Balmoral cruise ship.
“Our wonderful Elmer Travel Trunk has had quite the adventure since the end of the parade, having sailed on our flagship Balmoral to South America,” said Ellis Barker, of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.
“It was our intention to get him onto all four of our ships before returning to Ipswich in time to open our new extension to Fred. Olsen House.
“Sadly we have had to pause all our cruise operations as a result of Covid-19, but we are very pleased he got to enjoy at least one cruise adventure with us.”
Not on My Patch Elmer, an elephant which was designed to raise awareness of single use plastics, ended up finding a new home with a family that had a very appropriate name.
Sue Elmer, owner of Not On My Patch, explained: “My children grew up with the Elmer books, so when we learned there was to be an Elmer trail in Ipswich we wanted to be involved.
“My husband, Simon Elmer, and I had our eye on the Not On My Patch as this also had some significance for our family as our eldest daughter Maddy is dating the musician Dougie Poynter, from McFly, who recently published a book about reducing plastic waste - called Plastic Sucks.
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“St Elizabeth Hospice were amazing in my father, David Brooke’s last days and enabled him to die at home and gave me enormous support whilst I cared for him. Elmer was delivered and is a prominent feature in our garden. He brightens every day and I can see him from my kitchen window – it’s always a bright day with Elmer in our garden.”
Earnest Edmund Elmer now lives with a pig from the previous art trail, Pigs Gone Wild, at Homestyle UK in Martlesham.
Graham Shemmings, managing director of Homestyle UK, said: “Our Elmer, Earnest Edmund, will be on display alongside our Pigs Gone Wild Hospice Pig at our brand new showroom in Martlesham for all to see.”
Suffolk Elephantasia is at The Galley Restaurant in Woodbridge.
“Our Elmer now lives at the Galley Restaurant, Woodbridge on the first floor where our customers can enjoy it as much my family and I do,” said owner Uğur Vata.
“It was wonderful to get the opportunity to own another piece of work by one of my favourite local artists and to help support the wonderful work the hospice undertakes.”
The Phantom of the Opera style Elmer now lives with the Wegg family.
“Elephantom is in the front garden of our family home in Grundisburgh,” said Amy Wegg.
“We absolutely love seeing him every day and other villagers get to enjoy him as well.
“We have five children and a dog so thought why not have an elephant too - at least this family member doesn’t eat much.”
Hannah Bloom, director of income generation at St Elizabeth Hospice, said: “Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk was such a fantastic event for us, proving to be an even bigger success than our previous art trail, Pigs Gone Wild in 2016.
“The public really loved the Elmers and it was great to see so many photos on social media as people ensured they visited and ticked each Elmer off their list.
“That was is why we wanted to share with the community an update of where the Elmers are now all calling home.
“We are already in the process of planning another art trail for 2022, so watch this space!”