Bidders snap up a unique piece of art to be a part of something special that will leave a legacy for families across Plymouth and surrounding areas.
On the evening of 9 October, 40 of the enchanting elephant sculptures that have delighted tens of thousands this summer as part of Elmer’s Big Parade – each featuring a unique design by a talented artist – generated a staggering £323,750 for St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth. This is the equivalent of providing over 350 families with hospice care at home.
Led by professional auctioneer Paul Keen of Plymouth Auction Rooms, the star Elmer of the night, by Plymouth-based artist Brian Pollard was snapped up by the Miller family from Plymouth and finally went for a jaw-dropping £36,000.
Elmer – The Symphony of the Spirit – artist: Andy Jack Nash
Bought by Andy and Naomi Ibbs.
Andy’s retirement day from his position as Chief Executive of Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust coincided with the auction and he wanted to use some of his lump sum to help St Luke’s. He and Naomi, who is Chair of Governors at Woodlands School in Plymouth, wanted this particular Elmer as music is a very important part of their lives. Their Elmer is going on a journey to the South of France, where it will live in the little wood by their holiday home and be enjoyed by their grandchildren.
Naomi Ibbs said: “We are so aware that St Luke’s is needed by so many families and the difference the charity makes to them is priceless, so this was an amazing opportunity to show our support. We’re absolutely thrilled to have won the auction and can’t wait to see our grandchildren enjoying our Elmer when they visit us in France. It will be such fun seeing their faces!”
Elmer – Britain’s Ocean City – artist: Dave Smith
Bought by Darren Burt
Bought by Darren Burt of Plymouth, whose wife Tracy died suddenly in June this year, aged just 39. Tracy was mum to children Brittany, Dylan, Darcy and Cody, and had seen the Elmers and set her heart on this one, so Darren was determined to fulfil her wish.
Darren was at the auction with daughter Darcy, aged 7, who was the one raising her hand for the bid. Their auction number allocated was 5 – which happened to be Tracy’s lucky number! This was such a poignant night for Darren as he remembered Tracy. The Elmer will take pride of place in the front garden of the family home in Eggbuckland.
Darren said: “When Tracy died suddenly, I didn’t just lose my wife but my best friend, too. Living without her is really hard and we miss her so much every day.
“Being at the auction with Darcy tonight has been very emotional, but I wasn’t going to leave until I had won the Elmer Tracy set her heart from the moment she saw it in the summer. Winning the auction means so much, and our Elmer is going to take pride of place because my wife was such a special person.”
The charity spends £5.7million a year on patient care giving its service free of charge to those who need it at home, in hospital or at its specialist unit at Turnchapel. Funds generated at the auction will help ensure St Luke’s expert team is there to make a very challenging time that little bit easier by ensuring dignity for patients and making them as comfortable as possible while also providing emotional, spiritual and practical support for them and their loved ones.
Steve Statham, Chief Executive of St Luke’s said: “It has been wonderful seeing so many people following Elmer’s Big Parade, enjoying a free family day out. Along the way, they’ve been learning more about the importance of high-calibre bespoke care for people at end of life and the difference St Luke’s makes.
“We never forget that it’s the support from our community that enables our vital service to continue to make a difference. On the auction night you were behind us and stepped up to the mark to make us a force for good when patients and families need us most.
“I am truly humbled by your support and thank you on behalf of our staff, volunteers, patients and their families.
“Two years ago we set out with an aim to ensure this project delivered a special legacy for St Luke’s beyond the trail and our Grand Charity Auction. Elmer’s Big Parade has delivered beyond what we could have ever dreamed of.”