A North East charity is calling on the region’s businesses to join their herd and take part in a major public art event this summer.
Hot on the heels of its hugely successful Great North Snowdogs art trail, St Oswald’s Hospice is holding Elmer’s Great North Parade - when 65 individually decorated statues of the popular storybook character Elmer the Elephant will be positioned across Tyne and Wear.
The Tyne and Wear Metro, presenting partner for Elmer’s Great North Parade, hopes the trail will give people an extra incentive to explore the region. Many of the colourful Elmer statues will be located close to Metro stations.
Huw Lewis, Customer Services Director of Nexus, which owns Metro, said: “We’re teaming up with St Oswald’s Hospice for a second time following some amazing feedback from our customers from the Snowdogs trail.
“People said they loved the fact Metro made it easy to enjoy the trail and explore old and new places with their families across the communities we serve.
“As well as supporting a fantastic good cause for the whole region, we helped inspire thousands of new journeys, which is why we had no hesitation in joining Elmer’s Great North Parade.”
The nine-week long event will open to the public on 19 August and some of the region’s biggest companies – from shopping centres and law firms to building societies and service providers – have already signed up to sponsor a statue.
Now, the Hospice is calling on others to follow suit.
It has unveiled the full list of locations for the Elmer statues with sites in Newcastle, Gateshead, North and South Tyneside and Sunderland still up for grabs for businesses wanting to join the likes of Womble Bond Dickinson, intu Metrocentre and Sage Gateshead.
Many of those who have already signed up to sponsor an Elmer statue, also sponsored a Snowdog in the 2016 trail, which attracted more than 676,000 people, boosted the region’s economy by more than £16.5m and raised a massive £367k for the hospice’s children and young adults’ service.
Among them is Sunderland shopping centre, the Bridges, whose marketing and communications manager, Samantha Czwordon-Auld, said supporting Elmer’s Great North Parade “was one of the easiest decisions we’ve ever made.
“In economic terms the The Snowdogs trail brought us numerous benefits,” she said, “including greater public awareness of the centre and the retailers housed here.
“It was great to be part of something that had such a major influence on the general mood of the region and brought so much happiness – and so we are delighted to be part of Elmer’s Great North Parade.”
As many of the colourful statues will be sited close to Metro stations, Tyne and Wear Metro, presenting partner for Elmer’s Great North Parade, hopes the trail will give people an extra incentive to explore the region.
Newcastle Building Society has chosen to sponsor an elephant sited at the city’s New Bridge Street and Kathryn McLaughlin, head of corporate communications, said: “At Newcastle Building Society we’re all about the North East and Elmer’s Great North Parade is a fantastic way of showcasing the collaborative and creative spirit of the region.”
With just six months to go until the start of the trail, project lead, Jane Hogan, is urging businesses keen to sponsor a statue not to delay as sites will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
“There are still plenty of sites left but if businesses want one close to their offices or venues then I really would urge them to move quickly,” she said.
Elmer’s Great North Parade is being held in conjunction with creative producers Wild in Art, along with Elmer’s publisher Andersen Press and headline trail sponsor Tyne and Wear Metro.
Sponsorship of an Elmer statue costs £6,250 or £12k for two and details of available sites can be accessed at https://www.stoswaldsuk.org/elmer/elmer-map/.
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