St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth is bringing Elmer the patchwork elephant – the much-loved storybook character created by Devon-born author and artist David McKee – to Plymouth for Elmer’s Big Parade in 2019, 30 years since Andersen Press first published the Elmer story.

Working with children’s books publisher Andersen Press and creator of public art events Wild in Art, for ten weeks over the summer of 2019, the eye-catching Elmer’s Big Parade will see elephants dotted across the city, where St Luke’s cares for patients with progressive life-limiting illnesses and supports their families and carers.

The 40 unique elephant sculptures, each painted by an established or emerging local artist, will form a trail that will both attract new visitors to Plymouth, curious to see what Elmer is up to, and encourage residents to explore areas they might not have ventured to before.

The project also includes an interactive app to help people follow the herd, detailing the sculpture locations and enabling them to join the Elmer community by uploading selfies as they go.

Running alongside the trail will be an engaging interactive educational programme for Key Stage 2 and 3 school children that will aid their understanding of death and dying in an age-appropriate way.

Following the launch in March 2018, artists are being invited to submit their designs from June 2018, with the sculpture trail opening in July 2019.