Council support for Elmer’s Big BelfastTrail

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has lent its support to an ‘elephant-astic’ public art trail to raise vital funds for the Northern Ireland Hospice.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Alderman Stephen Ross pictured with NI Hospice Chief Executive Heather Weir at the Council’s Elmer sculpture, beside the HMS Caroline at Belfast Harbour.
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Alderman Stephen Ross pictured with NI Hospice Chief Executive Heather Weir at the Council’s Elmer sculpture, beside the HMS Caroline at Belfast Harbour.

Elmer’s Big Belfast Trail officially launched on Monday, with a herd of 70 unique elephant sculptures bringing a splash of colour to iconic locations across the city. The art trail is based on David McKee’s popular children’s character ‘Elmer the Patchwork Elephant’.

The Council is an official supporter of Elmer’s Big Belfast Trail, having provided £35,000 sponsorship. As part of this the Council has its very own sculpture, designed by artist Donna Newman.

Situated in a stunning location at Belfast Harbour, beside the HMS Caroline, the Council’s sculpture - dubbed ‘Elmer’s Garden’ - features giant minibeasts crawling and buzzing through the foliage and vegetables buried deep in the soil, set against the backdrop of a picket fence.

Belfast will host the colourful Elmer sculptures until 31 August. Then the herd will move to Antrim Castle Gardens for a final farewell on 3 and 4 September – a final chance for eager fans to see this unique art installation outside of Belfast.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Alderman Stephen Ross said: “We are extremely proud to be a sponsor for Elmer’s Big Belfast Trail, which is all in aid of raising money and awareness for the NI Hospice and is part of the celebrations to mark 21 years of care at the Children’s Hospice Horizon House.

“This event is timely, as the Council recently awarded the Hospice Freedom of the Borough in recognition of the exceptional specialist palliative care service they provide to people with life limiting and life-threatening conditions, and for the support provided to their families.

“On a personal note, with the NI Children’s Hospice being one of my chosen charities, it is an honour and a privilege for me to officially unveil our Elmer sculpture. I look forward to this wonderful trail coming home to the Borough later this year.”

Heather Weir, NI Hospice Chief Executive added: “Elmer’s Big Belfast Trail has been a huge undertaking and a lot of planning has gone into making it a reality, so I am delighted that the public can finally experience this free outdoor walking trail.

“I want to thank all those who partnered with us and offered their support to make Elmer’s Big Belfast Trail possible, including Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council. I am excited for people to get out and about and discover these uniquely decorated sculptures for themselves. Now the fun can really begin!”

Download the ElmerBelfast app for free from the App Store or Google Play and see how many you can spot over the next 10 weeks. You can also earn rewards and track your steps along the way.

To find out more about Elmer’s Big Belfast Trail, visit elmerbelfast.co.uk