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St.Oswalds Hospice in Newcastle cares for both adults, children and babies who have terminal illnesses.  It is a registered charitable trust, and whilst the NHS regulates it, it does not fund it. The childrens hospice has to raise over £7.5 million each year to keep its doors open and its service free to those who need it, and relies a fair bit on volunteers, (who’s equivalent salary comes to around £180 million a year, if they were paid minimum contract wages). It is well run and very well thought of by those who have been unfortunate enough to need its services.

This year the Childrens Hospice organised an art trail, to raise money for the kids unit. Based on Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, a childrens book written and illustrated by David McKee.  From 21st August to 1st November 2019 an art trail featuring individually designed elephant sculptures based on the Elmer character happens across Tyne & Wear.  50 large by recognised North East artists, and 114 little sculptures by school children. There’s an app (of course there’s an an app! 😀 ) to download the trail and at the end of the time period the elephant sculptures are auctioned off.

I had no inclination to go charging around Tyne & Wear doing the trail, but it is fun coming across them on outings, and there were a few in Newcastle when we went. I took some pictures of them 🙂

“Jumble” by Valerie Smith-Lane a tattoo artist in Newcastle.

“‘Jumble’ illustrates that no matter what, we are all made up of an assortment of things and that so many entities influence who we are. Our thoughts, behaviours and appearance are formed by our ancestors, heritage, culture, society, surroundings and people’s influences on us. Collaboration and equality can result in an outstanding outcome.”

“Are We Nelly Home” by Zoe Emma Scott a self-taught artist who specialises in painting North East landmarks.

From the left:- Pure by St Anne’s Catholic School, Gateshead. Trunk by George Washington Primary School, Washington. Reach for the Stars by St Mary’s RC Primary School, Newcastle. Everyone’s a winner by Bede Community Primary School, Gateshead.

Uno by Crookhill Community Primary School, Ryton.

“Our design was inspired by our school values of respect and equality. We encourage children to respect others and be confident in who they are – just like Elmer. We believe everyone is equal no matter what they look like and we wanted our Elmer to reflect this. Our motto is ‘Working together, we succeed,’ so everyone worked together to produce a unique design embodying self-confidence and individuality”.

Uno with Kintsugi by Roman Road Primary School, Gateshead.

“Our design was inspired by our whole school’s well-being and work on mental health. The Japanese have an old philosophy that ‘nothing is ever truly broken’. This ancient art of ‘Kintsugi’ repairs smashed pottery with gold. As people, we sometimes feel broken or in pieces but like our Elmer, with support, we can be restored.”

ORBIT by Jim Edwards

Jim Edwards is best known for his contemporary cityscape and landscape painting, capturing the iconic locations of the North East.  ‘Orbit’s’ surface is covered in the familiar patchwork of land masses that represent the planet Earth. The tiny International Space station circumnavigates the elephants body, catching the attention of Orbit, like an insect passing by his trunk.


Disco Wilbur by Natalie Guy

Natalie Guy is a contemporary mosaic artist using a wide range of materials including diamonds, hex nuts, jigsaw pieces and mirror tiles. Disco Wilbur is based on the Wilbur character who appears alongside Elmer in David McKee’s book series and is created using thousands of pieces of mirror tiles.

He’s my favourite of course 🙂

On the trail.

The auction raised £182,200


Stay tooned for more from Newcastle.

42 comments on “Newcastle ~September 2019 ~ Elmer edition

  1. That’s a cool idea!…unbelievable amount of money they have raise annually for such a vital service though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, the elephant trail is just a drop on the ocean but somehow they keep on keeping on.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. beetleypete says:

    They did this in London in 2009. There was one on the corner of where I worked, one of something like 200 in the central tourist areas.
    It’s a nice idea, and the different designs are often stunning.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pit says:

    LOVE these elephants

    Liked by 1 person

  4. -N- says:

    These kind of projects don’t find there way into my neighborhood. Clever and creative, and definitely for a worthy cause. Hospice is one of the better inventions of modern medicine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, a pity they have to work so hard for funding.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. -N- says:

        It’s true. And I think it gets worse as times change.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. richlakin says:

    They’re great. Liverpool did similar with music (of course). I like Are We Nelly Home?…..😁👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha I like them all!


  6. How wonderful! And I LOVE David McKee’s Elmer series!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought you might 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Amazing. What a wonderful idea, and the artistry is outstanding! Beautifully captured 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. All delightful! I think “Kintsugi” is my favorite.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like the thought that went into that one. Cheers ToC!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Absolutely love the elephants and the photos, Waffles!❤💐🌟

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Book’em 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Unusual and amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep that about sums up the Toon!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. April Munday says:

    We had something similar here a few years ago, but with zebras. I didn’t see all of them. Not having a phone, I couldn’t download the app.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t bother with the app either, but it’s popular with Mums & kids doing the trail. Cheers April.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Sean says:

    Those are really neat. I like these types of events because it really shows off the artists’ creativity, trying to make something unique out of a common element.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Those are AMAZING!! Is it funny that the first thing I thought was “I WANT TO CLIMB ON THEM!!”… Then I saw the sign. Dammit. 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha they’re not that big! 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh. I’ll still make it work. 🤔

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Sigh… I just can’t stay connected long enough to make a blog comment.
    This is beautiful Fraggle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks hunny, hope you get sorted.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Even if you didn’t follow the trail, I bet it was fun to encounter those elephants here and there. Quite an astonishing art project.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I hope they do it next year too. Thanks Otto.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Francis.R. says:

    Seeing these sculptures… I think I would loved to see one with your mosaics and design : )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes that would be fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. steviegill says:

    Fab. We had something similar in Brighton a year or two ago but instead of elephants, it was snails and in support of the charity Mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We had snow dogs the year before. Can’t see it happening this year.


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