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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.”

Elmer’s Big Parade Plymouth sponsored by Stagecoach South West, supported by Wild in Art, Andersen Press and PL1 Events.

Having delighted tens of thousands of people this summer, getting them out on foot across our city ‘hunting’ for the 40 enchanting Elmer sculptures that made up Elmer’s Big Parade, Devon’s biggest public art event of the year is set to go out with style!

Our mammoth mob is not going quietly – in fact, there’s a three-day celebration on the horizon! The mustn’t-miss, last-chance opportunity to get up close to the 40 full-size Elmers and the 25 ‘mini’ sculptures painted by local schools is happening between Friday 4 and Sunday 6 October at Herd HQ in the former Toys R Us store at Western Approach.

After this, the elephants’ trunks will be packed as they head off to their new homes having gone under the hammer at our Grand Charity Auction to raise money for our compassionate care.

As well as providing a free family friendly activity, our mammoth mob – each one individually painted by a talented artist – have been on a very important mission, raising awareness of our charity, the importance of the high-calibre end of life care we provide and the difference it makes to our community.

The upcoming Farewell Weekend will give people the opportunity to meet the artists involved in the project, including internationally renowned Brian Pollard, Patron of St Luke’s, and is an opportunity for people who might have missed the trail itself, not been able to see all the sculptures, or simply want to see Elmer’s chunky chums again and bring visiting family this time.

Adrian Carey, Project Manager for Elmer’s Big Parade, said: “We have been blown away by the success of Elmer’s Big Parade, which has been one of the most popular trails of its kind in the UK.

“Seeing so many families out discovering the sculptures has been heart-warming and we’re pleased to have provided them with a free, fun activity that also highlighted the vital end of life care St Luke’s provides. Our Farewell Weekend is an exciting opportunity to see all the sculptures together, take photographs and – if they’d like – snap up Elmer merchandise. We look forward to welcoming them to Herd HQ!”

With demand for places expected to be high, everyone who purchases a ticket will be allocated a one-hour session at Herd HQ. Tickets are priced £5 each for adults and £3 for under-16s, with free entry for children under two. Opening times are: Friday 4 October: 12 – 7pm, Saturday 5 October: 9am – 7pm, and Sunday 6 October: 9am – 4pm. The first session of each day is reserved for families of children and adults with autism or related conditions who might require more comfort. This ‘quiet session’ will feature subdued lighting and low music and have minimal noise. These times are restricted to 100 people and may also suit wheelchair users.

The VIP Grand Charity Auction is taking place on the evening of 9 October, also at Herd HQ, where a celebrity host will join the man wielding the hammer, Paul Keen of Plymouth Auction Rooms. It is hoped each Elmer auctioned will raise at least £4,000 for St Luke’s to help us continue our vital service.

Paul said: “Over the years we’ve sold a number of items for St Luke’s at the auction rooms, so I wasn’t that surprised when we were asked to do this special auction, but I didn’t really expect it to be as impressive as it is. St Luke’s do so much in providing compassionate care in Plymouth, that they need as much support as they can, and ultimately, it’s financial support. This auction is on such a high platform, and it gives us the opportunity to raise as much as we possibly can.”

Steve Statham, Chief Executive of St Luke’s, said: “Almost everyone in our city is likely to require St Luke’s compassionate care one day, or be close to someone who does. That’s why we aim to attract substantial bids for these unique pieces of art that will help us continue to be there for families, enabling them to make the most of every moment together when time is running short.

“We want Elmer’s Big Parade to leave a special legacy beyond the trail and our Grand Auction is a fantastic opportunity to be part of that.”

To find out more about the Farewell Weekend and the Grand Charity Auction, please visit elmerplymouth.co.uk/events.

It’s a wrap! Elmer’s Big Parade – Devon’s biggest public art event of 2019 – is coming to an end, but the mammoth mob is not going quietly. In fact, there’s an ele-fantastic Farewell Weekend in store for the whole family to enjoy.

Having spread a huge smile across iconic locations in Plymouth for ten weeks this summer, the sculpture trail featuring 40 colourful, individually painted elephants – each sponsored by a local business – is set for a big ‘farewell’ celebration before trunks are packed and the elephants prepare to be auctioned off in aid of St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth.

From Friday 4 to Sunday 6 October, Herd HQ in the former Toys R Us building at Western Approach will throw open its doors to welcome people keen to see the hefty herd all together under one roof, where they can get a close-up look at the unique designs created by talented artists, including internationally renowned painter Brian Pollard.

Not only will they see the fabulous 40 who’ve enchanted the tens of thousands of visitors out on foot around Plymouth, they’ll also meet the 25 marvellous mini Elmers painted by children at local schools where St Luke’s works together with staff as part of its Compassionate Schools programme, which tackles the taboo topics of death, dying and life-limiting illness in an age-appropriate way and enhances support for bereaved children.

The event – which is ticketed – is a great opportunity for those who may not have had the chance to follow the trail, or those who want to see their favourite sculptures again. It’s also a chance for those who’ve already seen the stunning designs to invite family and friends to visit the city and share the fun experience with them.

Adrian Carey, Project Manager for Elmer’s Big Parade, said: “We have been blown away by the success of Elmer’s Big Parade, which has been one of the most popular trails the city has ever seen.

“Seeing so many families out discovering the sculptures has been heart-warming and we’re pleased to have provided them with a free, fun activity that also highlighted the vital end of life care St Luke’s provides. Our Farewell Weekend is an exciting opportunity to see all the sculptures together, take photographs and – if they’d like – snap up Elmer merchandise. We look forward to welcoming them to Herd HQ!”

With demand for places expected to be high, everyone who purchases a ticket will be allocated a one-hour session at Herd HQ. Tickets are priced £5 each for adults and £3 for under-16s, with free entry for children under two. Opening times are: Friday 4 October: 12 – 7pm, Saturday 5 October: 9am – 7pm, and Sunday 6 October: 9am – 4pm. The first session of each day is reserved for families of children and adults with autism or related conditions who might require more comfort. This ‘quiet session’ will feature subdued lighting and low music and have minimal noise. These times are restricted to 100 people and may also suit wheelchair users.

To find out more about the Farewell Weekend, please visit the Elmer’s Big Parade website.

Purchase your tickets here.

One of Plymouth’s most loved charities is offering you the opportunity to take home your very own Elmer the Elephant while supporting the vital care the service provides across the community.

Tens of thousands of you have had loads of fun this summer, discovering the 65 individually painted, enchanting elephant sculptures in Elmer’s Big Parade as you’ve followed the trail across iconic locations in our city and Mount Edgcumbe. And – as well as providing a free, fun day out – the herd has been on an important mission, highlighting the specialist work of St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth, which cares for people with life limiting illnesses and supports the loved ones around them.

Before the stunning pieces of art go under the hammer at the Grand Charity Auction on 9 October, to raise vital funds for the charity, there’s a chance to win your very own ‘Young Elmer’!

The sculpture you can scoop in the raffle in aid of St Luke’s is very special, having been painted in the design of the classic Elmer the Patchwork Elephant by talented local illustrator Dave Smith. Dave’s work has featured in the well-loved ‘Horrible Histories’ franchise, and he is also the artist behind the Elmer’s Big Parade sculpture ‘Britain’s Ocean City’, which is sponsored by Fairway Furniture and situated on the green at the Royal William Yard.

This fantastic raffle prize is varnished with high-quality glaze which makes it suitable for both indoor and outdoor life. Standing approximately 70cm high, it is the same size as the ‘Young Elmers’ painted by local schools that have been on their very own education trail at Mount Edgecumbe. These mini marvels will be returning to the schools as a legacy for their involvement with Elmer’s Big Parade Plymouth and a tool for St Luke’s to continue to work alongside teaching staff as part of the ‘compassionate schools’ programme, which tackles the taboo topics of death, dying and life limiting illness in an age-appropriate way.

Raffle tickets are on sale at all St Luke’s charity shops and other locations such as Fairway Furniture in Plymouth and Tavistock, priced £1 each. The funds raised will help the charity continue the specialist care it provides for patients at home, in hospital and at its specialist unit at Turnchapel.

St Luke’s Adrian Carey, Project Manager for Elmer’s Big Parade, said: “This is a prize money just can’t buy and a unique memento of Elmer’s Big Parade, which has delighted so many people this summer while raising awareness of the vital care St Luke’s provides. Not only has it been colourfully painted by popular and talented artist Dave Smith, it will continue to bring delight long after our other elephants have packed their trunks and headed off to their new homes.”

For more information on Elmer’s Big Parade and events, please visit www.elmerplymouth.co.uk.

Elmer’s Big Parade Plymouth is kindly sponsored by Stagecoach South West.