Elephants trumpet their arrival as Luton's Keech Hospice Care celebrates 30th anniversary with The Big Trunk Trail

Two new colourful elephants arrive at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in time for half term

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 1:06 pm

Visitors to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo this half term are in for a big surprise as two new elephants have joined their cousins.

Peanut and Unity are part of a growing herd called The Big Trunk Trail who will be seen all over the Luton this summer. It’s the biggest outdoor public art event the town has ever seen with more than 30 beautifully decorated elephants on display for everyone to visit.

The gorgeous creatures have been created as part of the celebrations around the 30th anniversary of Keech Hospice Care which cares for children in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes and adults in Luton and South Bedfordshire with life-limiting and terminal illnesses. Each sculptured elephant has been lovingly decorated by some of the best artists around and generously sponsored by local businesses.

Elephants arrive at the zoo. Photo: Keech Hospice Care
Elephants arrive at the zoo. Photo: Keech Hospice Care

Peanut and Unity are Keech Hospice Care’s very own colourful elephant sculptures and they will be staying at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo from Saturday, May 29 until June 6 before heading into Luton to join the glittering herd for the summer at various well-known landmarks around the town.

Liz Searle, CEO of Keech Hospice Care said: “Bringing The Big Trunk Trail to Bedfordshire alongside our partners is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to everyone who has supported us across Beds, Herts and Bucks over the last 30 years.

"These beautiful sculptures will be ready to visit across Luton’s parks and landmarks for 13 weeks, starting with a grand elephant parade on July 10. People who want to see them will be able to download our Big Trunk Trail App or grab a printed map showing where they all are and the whole event is completely free.

"Visiting the Big Trunk Trail will make some lovely summer days out, and we think people will really enjoy having them around. One of the reasons elephants were chosen for the event is that another name for a herd is a memory; we hope people will have warm memories of those precious loved ones Keech Hospice Care has cared for over the years, and that they’ll make some new memories during this beautiful event.”

Elephants at the zoo. Photo: Keech Hospice Care

Chief operating officer of ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Owen Craft said: “We’re really looking forward to adding to our incredible herd of Asian elephants with two beautifully colourful pachyderms, that are supporting such an important, local cause. I’m sure our visitors and members will love spotting Peanut and Unity in amidst the Zoo’s other 3500 animals.”

While Peanut and Unity are staying at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, visitors will be able to take part in an exciting competition to win a family day ticket to the zoo (2 adults and 2 children). All you have to do to enter is to take a selfie (or should that be an elphie?) with one of them, post it to your own social media including the hashtag #TakeAnElphie and tag in @BigTrunkTrail and you could be a big winner (full terms and conditions can be found at www.bigtrunktrail.co.uk/elphie).

Even when the elephants’ visit to Luton comes to an end in October, their story will be far from over. The entire herd will gather at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo from October 22-28 to bid a spectacular farewell. People who’ve fallen in love with them will have the chance to take one home to keep forever in a grand auction to be held in November, with all the proceeds going towards Keech Hospice Care’s vital work.

The elephant sculptures have been produced by Wild in Art, a leading producer of public art events. Charlie Langhorne, managing director and co-founder at Wild in Art, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to form this partnership with such a great charity as Keech Hospice Care. Our elephants will give people the opportunity to take a leisurely stroll around their town enjoying these beautiful, cheerful art works while remembering what great service the charity has given to everyone for the past 30 years.”

For more details about The Big Trunk Trail please visit The Big Trunk Trail website at https://www.bigtrunktrail.co.uk or follow the herd on social media @BigTrunkTrail, #BigTrunkTrail.