FANS of the literary world’s most popular elephant have set off in their thousands to follow Elmer’s Great North Parade.

With just a week until the North East’s biggest ever, free, public art trail draws to a close, organisers have revealed just how popular it has been with residents and visitors of all ages.

The Parade is made up of 50 big and 114 little, individually decorated Elmer sculptures sited across North and South Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland and Newcastle.

And, so far, hundreds of people have managed to complete the trail, according to data recorded on the Elmer’s Great North Parade app.

The app shows the exact locations of the individually decorated sculptures, based on David McKee’s popular storybook character, Elmer the Patchwork Elephant.

Using the four-digit codes displayed on the sculptures’ plaques, users can unlock all the big Elmers and the little herds, which have been decorated by artists, schoolchildren and community groups from across the region.

Users can also vote for their favourite sculptures, upload their own photographs from the trail and find out more about the artists who decorated the sculptures and the businesses which sponsored them.

The app also reveals some extra special rewards and prizes that can be unlocked in stages, along with news about themed weeks and special events happening during the trail.

The latest figures also show that, since the launch of the Parade (21 Aug), 9381 people have signed up to the app, unlocking 169,503 sculptures and 120,526 total rewards – and more than 7500 photographs have been uploaded to the app by trail supporters.

Project lead Jane Hogan said it has also been interesting to see which of the sculptures has won over the hearts of fans.

“From the outset, Elephish, at Whitley Bay, took the lead and he still seems to be the most popular,” she said, “with Disco Wilbur, outside St Nicholas Cathedral, coming a close second.

“But one of the aspects of the trail we have enjoyed most is seeing the photos people are uploading of themselves and their friends and families out and about – the Parade really is bringing people together and we’re delighted about that.”

Elmer’s Great North Parade will draw to a close on 1 November and the large and small sculptures will be brought together one last time for a farewell weekend event at Gosforth Racecourse on 9 and 10 November.

Then, on 12 November, they will go under the hammer at The Big Elmer Charity Auction at Sage Gateshead to raise funds for St Oswald’s Hospice.

For more information about the trail, the Farewell Event or the auction, contact www.stoswaldsuk.org.