The Launch of Elmer’s Great North Parade

The Word was delighted to host the launch of Elmer’s Great North Parade on Wednesday 21 August, organised by and in support of St. Oswald’s Hospice.  The parade, which runs until 1 November, has taken over Tyne and Wear with individually designed elephant sculptures based off the much-loved Elmer character.

As part of the trail, we have welcomed our own patchwork figure – Elmer Armstrong. Created by artist Mik Richardson, Elmer Armstrong celebrates the first man to walk on the Moon – Neil Armstrong, which ties in with our Amazing Space exhibition as well as the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing.

The Word is also home to a herd of little Elmer’s created by children from schools in South Tyneside – St. Aloysius Primary (The Aloysius Elmer), Biddick Hall Junior School (An elephant never forgets…), Westoe Crown Primary School (Betty) and Hebburn Lakes Primary School (Hans).

With three little Elmer’s in place for the start of the parade, the launch event saw the final little Elmer (Hans) travel from North Shields via the ferry to join with the rest of the little herd at The Word. Once he reached South Shields ferry landing, Hans was met by children from Hebburn Lakes Primary, who then helped push him up to The Word.

Hundreds of visitors and guests gathered in the entrance of The Word to cheer and welcome Hans in to the building, and to be part of the official opening of the trail, which was opened by St Oswald’s Chief Executive, James Ellam. Children’s entertainer Stephen Sullivan gathered children together to read the original story of Elmer the Patchwork Elephant and visitors posed for photos with the Elmer’s.

TV, press and digital media all attended the opening where representatives from St Oswald’s and Andersen Press (publisher of the Elmer series), as well as artists, were interviewed and photographed as part of the start of the trail.

Now that the trail is underway, make sure you come along and get a selfie with our fantastic Elmer Armstrong and the little herd. Download the app so you can unlock our Elmer’s as well as the others across the region. You can also pick up a trail sheet and tick them off the list! Don’t forget to tag us in your pictures on Twitter and Facebook too and use the hashtag #greatnorthelmer #ElmerArmstrong.

See below some great pictures from the launch event.


Helen Wales, Marketing & Communications