THE North East charity behind the hugely successful Great North Snowdogs event has unveiled the ‘star’ of its next, free, public art trail.
The trail of 61 sculptures, inspired by the animated film The Snowman™ and The Snowdog, which covered North and South Tyneside, Sunderland, Gateshead, Newcastle and Northumberland for nine weeks in autumn 2016, attracted more than 676,000 people.
And its organiser, St Oswald’s Hospice, has revealed that popular children’s storybook character Elmer the Elephant will be the inspiration for a second, similar trail.
Written and illustrated by David McKee, the Elmer books – featuring the iconic, patchwork elephant – have been translated into more than 50 languages, selling in excess of eight million copies worldwide.
Elmer’s Great North Parade will take place for 10 weeks starting on Monday 19 August 2019, with individually decorated statues of the character positioned throughout Tyne and Wear.
The Parade will also be supported by a regionwide learning programme for schools and children’s groups and will culminate in a farewell weekend on2 and 3 November 2019.
This will enable people to see the sculptures herded together for the final time, before they are auctioned to raise money for St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice.
“Elmer was a natural successor to the Snowdog for a number of reasons,” said project lead, Jane Hogan “not least because he celebrates his 30thbirthday this year, making him almost the same age as the Hospice.
“But there are also connections to our work at the Hospice. Elmer promotes values such as bravery, friendship and diversity and, like all elephants he lives in family groups, where they protect the young and vulnerable and mourn each other’s deaths.
“And, of course, elephants never forget.”
Figures show that Great North Snowdogs boosted the region’s economy by more than £16.5m and raised a massive £367k for the hospice’s children and young adults’ service, which made a second trail inevitable, said the Hospice’s Chief Executive James Ellam.
“It was the first time an art trail of its kind and scale had happened in Tyne and Wear,” he said, “and the response was overwhelming.
“So, we are delighted to once again be working with creative producers Wild in Art, along with Elmer’s publisher Andersen Press and headline trail sponsor Tyne and Wear Metro, to bring Elmer’s Great North Parade to the region.”
Huw Lewis, customer services director at Nexus, said: “We are delighted to once again be supporting St Oswald’s Hospice. As well as being for a very good cause, Great North Snowdogs took thousands of people to places they had never before, or rarely, visited.
“Elmer’s Great North Parade is set to do the same – it will be great for the towns and city centres that we serve.”
For more information about Elmer’s Great North Parade including corporate and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.greatnorthelmer.co.uk or follow the trail on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #greatnorthelmer