Families are set for some elephantastic fun next week (15-17 April) as storybook favourite Elmer heads to Sunderland.

David McKee’s Elmer the Patchwork Elephant is the inspiration behind Elmer ‘s Great North Parade – a 10-week long free public art trail across Tyne and Wear, which starts on 21 August.

And, as part of a regionwide tour ahead of the trail, the colourful character is stopping off at the Bridges shopping centre.

From Monday 15 to Wednesday 17 April, Elmer will not only be on hand to welcome shoppers and meet his young fans, but the centre has also lined up a series of workshops themed around his visit.

The hour-long workshops – held on Monday at 12 noon and 2pm and on Tuesday, at 11am and 1pm– will give children the chance to help decorate four large Elmer drawings using a variety of fabric patchwork pieces.

The finished works of art will then be displayed at the centre, for shoppers and visitors alike to admire.

Elmer’s Great North Parade – expected to be the region’s biggest mass participation event of 2019 – is being held in support of St Oswald’s Hospice and Andy Bradley, centre director at the Bridges, is looking forward to welcoming Elmer.

“When the Hospice staged Great North Snowdogs in 2016 we were behind it all the way,” he said. “And we are determined to give Elmer just as big a welcome.

“I very much hope as many youngsters as possible will come along next week to meet him and to take part in the workshops – it is going to be a great, colourful and fun start to the Easter celebrations.”

The workshops are free to attend for children aged up to 12-years-old and will take place at the centre’s Central Park.

For further information about the Bridges visit www.thebridges-shopping.com.