Meet Elmer’s biggest fan. Not only has five-year-old Florence Tawn visited every one of the 50 sculptures which make up St Oswald’s Elmer’s Great North Parade, but she has even created a herd of her own.
Florence, from Gosforth, was so impressed with the individually designed elephants on the free public art trail that she insisted on copying the designs.
For each one she completed, mum, Lucy and dad, Alastair, gave her 50p – so she has now raised £25, which she plans to donate to the event’s organiser, St Oswald’s Hospice.
“The trail has really captured her imagination,” said Lucy, a 38-year-old teacher. “She always enjoyed reading the Elmer stories and was delighted when her school, Brunton First, was picked to decorate one of the 114 small elephants on the trail.
“We got the app for the trail and thought it would take us a couple of months to visit each elephant – but, in fact, we did it in two weeks.”
Florence was so impressed by the differing designs on the elephants that she proceeded to draw them by hand by herself.
Using photos Lucy had taken of Florence, her twin brother Henry and seven-year-old brother Max on their travels around Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and North and South Tyneside, she then reproduced the designs, using a variety of mediums.
“We were really proud of Florence’s enthusiasm,” said Lucy, “but, because this was a big task for a little girl, we decided to sponsor her for every Elmer she recreated.
“She spent many weekends and evenings diligently recreating them in her own way and it’s been wonderful to see her interpretations. Sometimes we even had to force her to take breaks away from her creative exploits,” she added.
“Her favourite Elmer to create was Holibobs, at Newcastle’s Heaton Park and the one that made her laugh the most was when she added hundreds and thousands to her version of Sweet Treat, at intu Metrocentre.”
Jane Hogan, St Oswald’s Hospice project lead for Elmer’s Great North Parade, said the whole team “was really touched by Florence’s enthusiasm for the trail.
“She has done a great job and we know that all the children and young people who use our service will really appreciate her fundraising on their behalf.
“This trail was always about children and families,” said Jane, “and just what can be achieved with care and kindness – thank you, Florence.”
For more information about Elmer’s Great North Parade visit www.greatnorthelmer.co.uk or follow the trail on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #greatnorthelmer.