FAMILY DAY OUT: Keeping fit and healthy with the Great North Elmer Parade trail

Cyrus loved Ele-bot Elmer, sponsored by Newcastle University Business School

As a new mum over 40, one of my priorities is to keep fit and healthy and joining in the fun of this year’s St Oswald’s Hospice Great North Elmer Parade was just the tonic.

Elmerus Maximus at Newcastle Central Station, sponsored by Dean Taxis was a big hit with little C and mummy alike

For me, a brisk walk always helps to blow away the cobwebs and clear my head while it also keeps little legs motivated and moving too. After all, if you’ve only got little legs, you’ve got to make every step count, taking in your favourite elephants along the way.

Little C with Landmarks Elmer, beautifully decorated by Powder Butterfly and sponsored by Newcastle United

The Great North Elmer Trail across the North East offered up an all-round great adventure for our little family and it has to be one of the best free family days out we’ve had this year.

Little legs with his jelly beans, courtesy of Leazes Financial and Brightside Elmer in Eldon Gardens, Newcastle

The adventure trail, which came to a close earlier this month, was based on David McKee’s popular story of Elmer the Patchwork Elephant and consisted of around 50 large sculptures and a number of smaller ones placed at easy-to-reach locations across the North East.

Little C with Sweet Treat Elmer at Intu MetroCentre in Gateshead, painted beautifully by artist Katie White

I personally love the Elmer stories because I’ve grown up with them and they are brilliant for teaching little ones all about diversity in a fun and engaging way.

Little C with the Elephant’s New Castle in Intu Eldon Square, Newcastle

Before setting off, we downloaded the Elmer trail app, purchased a map for £1 from Newcastle Central Library and also an Elmer storybook … so little legs could read to the elephants we met.

Little C gives Sweet Heart Elmer a kiss at Team Valley Retail Park, Gateshead

The app was great because it allowed little fingers to unlock each of the elephants with ease and the squeals of delight from little legs as he realised there were also treats behind some of the Elmers was just lovely.

Little C with Tele the Elephant, designed and decorated by Alfie Joey at Eldon Leisure, Newcastle city centre

Some of the best treats included some pencils and a colour-in Elmer from Greggs, a bag of jelly beans from Leazes Financial Services in Eldon Gardens and a pin badge courtesy of the artist behind the Barker & Stonehouse Elmer. It was definitely the little treats that kept him engaged as we made our way around the trail.

Little legs with Disco Wilbur in Newcastle city centre.

What was really magic was the number of families we met who were also out Elmer-spotting for the day. So after ticking off 25 Elmers in a day, which were little legs’ top three?

Little C ticks off the Elmers he’s spotted during the day

Greggs’ HAPI Elmer

The first was Greggs’ HAPI Elmer in Northumberland Street, Newcastle. HAPI stands for Having A Positive Impact and that’s something we should all strive to do. The colourful elephant, designed and decorated by North East artist Steve Johnson, must have made little legs hungry, so we stopped off for a quick chocolate star from our favourite bakery.

Little C with the Greggs’ HAPI Elmer

Barker & Stonehouse Nice To Be Nice Elmer

Little C’s second favourite was Barker & Stonehouse Elmer, Nice To Be Nice, located outside of the store in Newcastle city centre. We both loved the ‘I Believe In You’ message displayed on this colourful Elmer designed and decorated by Yorkshire illustrator Sian Ellis. Compliments go such a long way to making us all feel good.

The Barker and Stonehouse Elmer, Nice to be Nice

Newcastle Building Society’s Tynie Elmer

Little C’s final favourite Elmer was Tynie, sponsored by Newcastle Building Society and decorated by Liverpool artist Anne-Marie Byrne. He spent quite a while reading Elmer to Elmer! Tynie was one of the trail’s eco-friendly elephants and celebrated the spirit of the mighty River Tyne.

Little legs reads a story to Tynie Elmer, sponsored by Newcastle Building Society

A really important cause

By taking part in the trail, little legs and I were also doing our bit to raise money and awareness of St Oswald’s Hospice, which provides care, love and support to those with life-shortening conditions across the region.

Little C and mummy are proud to support St Oswald’s Hospice. Cyrus pictured with Weigh In Nelly at Newcastle Racecourse

Yesterday we celebrated our time on the trail by waving goodbye to the herd at Elmer’s Farewell Weekend at Newcastle Racecourse. Little legs gave a kiss to all of the elephants in the room and he also got to meet the ones we hadn’t been able to visit.

Mummy and little legs at Newcastle Racecourse for Elmer’s Farewell Weekend with Allsorts Elmer, sponsored by Sunderland BID

It was the perfect end to a perfect trail and we were so lucky to have been able to take part in it for such a good cause.

Big Elmer Charity Auction

It’s not over yet though as the Big Elmer Charity Auction takes place on Tuesday, November 12th at Sage Gateshead and gives people the chance to buy an Elmer and raise funds for the hospice at the same time. Tickets are on sale at

Summer Flowers painted and decorated by artist Emily Ward

If you buy an Elmer at the event, we’d love to hear from you! Please get in touch with us at

For a chance to see all the Elmers we visited, check out our Instagram channel @ofsaffronandcyrus for more pictures and videos.


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