Pig delivery drivers clock up 4,000 miles in preparation for the Pigs Gone Wild trail launch
PUBLISHED: 12:45 22 June 2016 | UPDATED: 12:45 22 June 2016
They were the first to catch a glimpse of Ed Sheer-ham and they took the back gate off a Victorian terrace in Liverpool to free Elvis Porksley.
Father and son duo Paul and Kieran Seymour admit that delivering ‘naked’ pigs to artists dotted all over the country and returning to collect the ornately-painted masterpieces for the Pigs Gone Wild trail is the “craziest job we have ever done”.
The volunteers have travelled more than 4,000 miles in the build up to the trail. They have been to Liverpool and back twice, completed two round trips to Birmingham, travelled all over London and to the far flung corners of Norfolk.
“It has been great fun, we have enjoyed meeting the artists and travelling around the country. It was like the artists couldn’t wait to get the pigs and start painting, and then they didn’t want to part with them when we went back,” said Paul, who lives in Ipswich and has been volunteering at St Elizabeth Hospice for six years.
“They were all really concerned about the pigs. Some were so well wrapped in bubble wrap, blankets and even carpet we could barely see them.”
Some of the deliveries stick in their memories more than others, and Kieran said: “When we picked Ed Sheer-ham up, he was just sat on the drive way looking for us. It was like he owned the place.”
He continued: “When we got to Liverpool, we found one of the artists lived in a Victoria terrace, we had to go round the back, down an alley and then we couldn’t the pig through the gate so we had to take it off.”
They returned to collect Elvis Porksley - the pig sponsored by Town 102 - and had to repeat the process to ‘free’ the sculpture.
Paul feels passionately about the work of the hospice after seeing how well staff cared for his mum in the days before her death.
“I retired a few years ago and was looking for something to do, the hospice was there.
“It is an amazing place and you just get hooked. My favourite job for the hospice is being an ambassador, it is lovely to be able to recount all of the wonderful stories from the hospice because normally we don’t talk about death.”
It was through another of his roles, as a coordinater for the volunteer drivers who pick-up day care patients, that he ended up with his recent driving job.
“The hospice team asked me if they could borrow a driver, and I said no, but that I would do it.
“We ended up doing a delivery every week for 11 or 12 weeks and travelling about 4,000 miles.”
Ed Sheer-ham, Elvis Porksley and the 37 other pigs that will make up the trail will be positioned in Ipswich Town Centre overnight on Saturday/Sunday, with the trail officially launching on Monday, June 27 and running for 10 weeks.
Paul has agreed to help co-ordinate the trailmaker volunteers during that time.
“We have 12 volunteers so far, and they will be on hand to tell people all about the pigs.”