Luton Bake Off star Nadiya Hussain's decorated elephant heads to town with Keech Hospice Care’s Big Trunk Trail

Keech Hospice Care’s Big Trunk Trail is coming to town

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 11:59 am
Updated Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 12:00 pm

A herd of more than 70 beautifully decorated elephants will be taking their places across Luton for the biggest public art event Bedfordshire has ever seen.

The Keech Hospice Care Big Trunk Trail herd is coming to town on Saturday, July 10, and the elephants will be on parade until October 8, as the charity’s way of saying thank you in their 30th anniversary year to everyone who has supported them through the decades.

The free, family-friendly outdoor installation sees the gorgeous creatures out and about across Luton’s parks and landmarks, including Wardown Park, the Town Hall, Stockwood Country Park and in multiple locations across the town centre.

Nadiya and her elephant, Mandala Party (C) Keech Hospice Care
Nadiya and her elephant, Mandala Party (C) Keech Hospice Care

Big names with their own decorated elephants include Great British Bake Off champion Nadiya Hussain and the charity established in the name of the local fundraising hero, The Captain Tom Foundation.

Some of the artists also have strong local links, like Luton born, former Turner Prize nominee, Mark Titchner whose best known works include the Beacon at the Hat Factory.

Nadiya said: “Luton is my home town so it makes me so proud that Keech Hospice Care is putting on this amazing art trail for everyone to enjoy.

"Sometimes it's tough to find things to do with children over the summer holidays that don’t cost the earth and I'm sure loads of parents will be delighted to take their kids, for free, to visit all the gorgeous elephants and lovely locations on The Big Trunk Trail.

Nadiya with her elephant - Mandala Party, Sherbet and Liz Searle, Keech CEO (C) Keech Hospice Care

"I’ve been lucky enough to visit Keech and see the incredible care and support they give to patients and families when they need it the most, and giving something back to the town that have supported them is a great way to celebrate its thirtieth anniversary.”

Meanwhile, Vicky, from Marston Moretaine, is the mum of a little girl who the charity cares for, and she said: “Keech have supported myself and my daughter, Amelia for three years now, both at the hospice and at home. They are like a family to us and I don’t know what we’d do without them.

"We’ve helped the children’s team decorate their baby elephant, Sherbet which will be on display in Wardown House (Wardown Park) and can’t wait to see the rest of the trail this summer.”

Each of the 32 large elephants has kindly been sponsored by a local business or organisation including event partners, London Luton Airport Ltd., The Mall Luton University of Bedfordshire, Luton BID and AiSolve.

Vicky and Amelia helped the children's team decorate Sherbet (C) Keech Hospice Care

The entire event has been made possible by tremendous support from Project Presenting Partner, Love Luton.

Forty-one baby elephants have been decorated by local schools and community groups as part of the Big Trunk Trail learning programme, thanks to generous support from Trail Partners, The University of Bedfordshire and London Luton Airport Ltd.

The schools and groups have all been fundraising furiously and their calves are together in groups at six indoor locations including The Mall and the Central Library.

A special map has been created to guide people on their elephant safari around the trail.

Copies are available (with a suggested £1 donation) from a number of places including The Keech Hospice Care Park Street shop, Luton Central Library and The Big Trunk Trail “gift shop” in The Mall.

Visitors can keep track of how many of the colourful creatures they’ve seen and take advantage of some money-off coupons for use in local shops.

Keech Hospice Care CEO, Liz Searle said: “I am excited at the thought of these magnificent elephants standing among Luton’s iconic attractions and streets, bringing colour and fun to the town.

"Another collective name for elephants is a ‘memory’ and, as a hospice, we hope The Big Trunk Trail will bring people together to remember loved ones while creating fantastic new memories.”

Linsey Frostick, from Love Luton, said: “Love Luton is all about showing Luton at its best, and that’s precisely what The Big Trunk Trail will do.

"We hope people who come in search of the herd will also discover some wonderful places around the town that they might never have otherwise even known existed.

"Elephants never forget, and we hope people will make marvellous memories to treasure when visiting the herd.”

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 partner with such a great charity as Keech Hospice Care.

"These elephants will give people the opportunity to take a leisurely stroll around Luton’s parks and landmarks enjoying these beautiful, cheerful art works while remembering what great service the charity has given to everyone for the past thirty years.”

There will also be the chance for people to own an elephant of their own when the trail comes to an end in October.

The large elephant sculptures are being auctioned on November 11, with all the proceeds helping Keech Hospice Care continue its vital work, caring for adults in Luton and south Bedfordshire and children from Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Milton Keynes with life-limiting and terminal illnesses.