Saying goodbye to Elmers - ahead of grand auction
PUBLISHED: 17:46 28 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:53 28 September 2019
Excited families are turning out to bid a fond farewell to Ipswich's much-loved Elmer sculptures this weekend.
The Elmer Packs His Trunk event at the Corn Exchange is drawing crowds of fans of all ages, keen to see all the Elmers together for one last time - before they go under the hammer at the Grand Elmer Auction on Thursday.
Norman Lloyd, campaign manager for Elmer's Big Parade Suffolk, said: "It's going fabulously. As organisers, we love to see the joy it is bringing to everyone.
"People of all ages love it, not just children - one lady said, 'I'm nearly crying because I'm so emotional about seeing them all together again like this'."
Jennie Hutchinson, of St Elizabeth Hospice, said: "A lot of the children come in looking for their favourite - they rush in and just hug the Elmers."
She added that it was great to see the event raising awareness of the hospice.
The mayor of Ipswich, Jan Parry, was a special guest at Saturday's event, and said: "It's really lovely to see them all together and to see all the skill that has gone into painting them."
Around 1,500 people were expected to go along to Elmer Packs His Trunk over the two days. Elmer HQ in the town hall is also open, and all Elmer merchandise (across all sales venues) has 30% off - celebrating the end of the trail and both Elmer and the hospice's 30th birthdays.
The event will continue on Sunday, with hourly slots available from 9am to 3pm. There is a charge for adults of £4.50, with children under 16 going for £3, free for under-twos. If you don't have a ticket, you can still book a slot for Sunday online or pay on the door, but you will need to have the right change.
The smaller Elmers from the "Learning Herd" will be going home to the schools and youth groups who decorated them, so that youngsters can continue to enjoy them.
On Thursday, October 3, from 6.30pm, all 55 large Elmers will be auctioned at the Grand Elmer Auction, in aid of St Elizabeth Hospice.
Tickets for the auction are on sale now and it will be a very special evening.
For details and to book tickets, at £25 each, visit the event page. Tickets include a prosecco reception and a copy of the official souvenir guide, which explains the inspiration behind each sculpture, as well as information about the artist and sponsor.