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All aboard for Hans, the final little Elmer

All aboard for Hans, the final little Elmer

Today was the day that all ele-fans had been waiting for – the much awaited launch of Elmer’s Great North Parade, organised by and in support of St Oswald’s Hospice.

This 11-week long trail of individually decorated sculptures inspired by children’s storybook character Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, launched this morning, Wednesday 21 August, at The Word, National Centre for The Written Word in South Shields and saw one elephant swap land for water, arriving in style on the Shields Ferry! Symbolising the way in which the trail unites the region, the little elephant, Hans, made his way from North Shields across the Tyne on board the ferry, accompanied by representatives from St Oswald’s Hospice, Headline Partner, Tyne and Wear Metro and Learning Programme Partner, First Class Supply.

Hans queued patiently to board, took his ticket and made his way onto the top deck, where he enjoyed the short but sunny ride across the river. Once at South Shields, he was carried out to meet by the children from Hebburn Lakes Primary School. who decorated him. He then made the short journey to The Word, where he joined his little Herd and bigger sculpture, Elmer Armstrong.

Hans was welcomed with cheers and applause, and It was then time for celebration. The trail was officially opened by St Oswald’s Chief Executive, James Ellam who quoted Elmer author and illustrator, David McKee:

“Elmer is really about accepting who you are, about celebrating difference. We are all different, with so many differences, difference of colour, of accents, but also of size, shape and how we dress. The differences are what make the world so rich.”

Hans catches the Shields Ferry

Elmer is really about accepting who you are, about celebrating difference.

We are all different, with so many differences, difference of colour, of accents, but also of size, shape and how we dress.

The differences are what make the world so rich.

David McKee

Once the trail was opened and Hans had been put into position with his herd, storytellers from The Word entertained children with the famous, much-loved Elmer stories, while visitors posted for photos with Elmer and his friends.

The trail will run until 1st November across Gateshead, Sunderland, Newcastle and North and South Tyneside, with 50 big and 114 little Elmer’s to find. A dedicated app can be downloaded for just 99p from Apple store or Google Play and trail-goers can unlock milestones and special offers by inputting a 4 digit code for each big Elmer and each little herd. Paper maps are available at vendors across the region.

All profits from Elmer’s Great North Parade will support the vital work of St Oswald’s Hospice. Thank you for being part of it.

VIEW THE FULL IMAGE GALLERY FROM THE LAUNCH EVENT HERE >

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