Last chance to check out the Pigs Gone Wild trail before sculptures are auctioned off

Family and friends have just one week to complete the Pigs Gone Wild trail before they are removed f

Family and friends have just one week to complete the Pigs Gone Wild trail before they are removed from the town. Left to right, Lee Airey and Eva-Marie Allegre. - Credit: Gregg Brown

As the final days of the Pigs Gone Wild trail draw to a close in Ipswich this week, participants have reflected on its legacy which some believe has helped people see the town “through new eyes”.

The family-friendly project has been enjoyed by hundreds of people young and old, but come Friday the pigs will say goodbye to their perches as they head to the Corn Exchange for the Ta Ta Trotters event, at which they will be auctioned in aid of St Elizabeth Hospice.

Deputy mayor Glen Chisolm said the trail’s legacy has been invaluable to the town.

“I think people who have lived in the town for a long time have seen it through new eyes,” he said. “They have seen different parts they may not have seen before and had a lasting impact.

“I went out with my partner and her daughter and it’s great to see so many families doing it.

“You get chatting away to others on the trail, so it’s a nice social thing, and every time I went into town I saw people with trail map in hand, Pigs Gone Wild T-shirts on and just really enjoying it. It really captures the imagination.”

Dozens of families enjoying the ramble beneath the glorious summer sunshine have hailed the project’s appeal – and believe the town needs more events like it in the future.

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Claire Cooper, 37, completed the trail with her son Jacob, six, and said: “It’s a nice, free activity you can do with the app, and [we] discovered a new part of Christchurch Park we haven’t seen before. To have a different animal each year would be great.”

Eight-year-old Molly Powell was out and about with her sister Ella-Marie, 10, and brother Percy, five. She said: “It’s really exciting because you don’t know what will happen and you don’t know what you will see next.”

Mum Holly Powell, 34, added: “We have seen so many new places, and it brought us into Ipswich because we live in Stowmarket.

“We have made a day of going to Christchurch Park and other places so it is great.”

As well as bringing people into the town centre and Waterfront, it has also provided a unique opportunity to celebrate some of Ipswich’s finest green spaces.

The stables at Holywells Park has offered shelter to Stymante and three junior pigs since the trail launched in June.

Nick Wilcox, park manager, said: “The trail has been great for Holywells Park. People who haven’t visited before are choosing to come to the park to see the pigs, and they are then staying.

“They are having a cup of tea in the stables cafe and enjoying the park.”

Over the summer the park’s team has worked hard to promote Holywells with a series of family events, with the combined effect of these and the pig trail resulting in a spike in visitor numbers.

“That growth will be sustained because people will come back,” said Mr Wilcox. “Some people have said they didn’t even know the park existed until the pig trail.

“Likewise, at Christchurch [Park] they have seen an increase in visitor numbers but they are popular anyway, we are a lesser known park.”

Norman Lloyd, Pigs Gone Wild project manager, said: “So many people have been saying that they will miss the pigs so much when the trail ends and that the streets of Ipswich will seem empty without them, and they really will.

“The response we have had from locals as well as national and even international visitors has been incredible.

“Everyone adores the pigs and have really taken them into their hearts.

“It would be lovely if some local people were to buy one or two of the pigs to then display them somewhere in the town where they can still be enjoyed.

“I know Pigs Gone Wild is something I will remember fondly forever and I’m sure that is the case with many other people in the community too, so to have a legacy of the pigs present in the town for years to come would be amazing.”

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