Why volunteering as a trailmaker will be a 'big hoot' in 2022

The Big Hoot 2022 will return to Ipswich between June and September 2022. 

The Big Hoot 2022 will return to Ipswich between June and September 2022. - Credit: St Elizabeth Hospice

Ipswich's largest art trail has begun its search for volunteers in preparation for thousands of visitors swooping into the town for next summer's exhibition.

The Big Hoot art trail will feature 40 colourful owls around the town between June and September 2022. 

It follows the success of Elmer's Big Parade and Pigs Gone Wild, which raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for St Elizabeth's Hospice. 

The charity is looking for volunteers to take on roles including administration, transporting the Hoots, selling merchandise or being on the trail itself. 

During the hospice's Elmer trail in 2019, 50 people acted as trailmakers. The event raised more than £260,000 for the hospice.

Barbara King volunteered in the Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk shop in Ipswich town centre and led a meet and greet when the Elmer statues went up for auction.

She said: “I wanted to support the hospice as I was already volunteering on the reception desk having seen for myself the fantastic work the hospice does.

"I thought the Elmer trail was a fascinating project that would appeal to a wide range of people from all age groups.

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“It was lovely to meet people of all ages who were fascinated by the elephants and the whole trail. Many of the families had been on the trail all morning and wanted to end the journey by being able to buy the merchandise as a keepsake. The children especially wanted to share their excitement over what they’d seen.

“I had such a lovely time chatting to people about their favourite elephants and encouraging children to do some colouring and helping them to choose which gifts to buy.”

St Elizabeth Hospice supports 3,000 patients and their families living with a progressive or life-limiting illness throughout East Suffolk, Great Yarmouth and Waveney.

Lynda Mills, volunteer partnerships administration coordinator at St Elizabeth Hospice, said: "The wonderful trailmakers were absolutely brilliant and were essential to the success of the trails through their generous support.

"Being a trailmaker is a unique opportunity to be part of a vibrant celebration which will bring together the community of Ipswich and further afield.”

To find out more about volunteering for the Big Hoot 2022, email Lynda.Mills@stelizabethhospice.org.uk.