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Celebrities’ unique works of jumbo elephant art set to go under the hammer

Life-size elephant sculptures including one in memory of the inspirational Captain Sir Tom Moore and another designed for British Bake Off winner, Nadiya Hussain, are to be auctioned off to raise vital funds for children and adults with life-limiting and terminal illnesses.

The 37 unique works of art have been individually brought to life with designs crafted by artists and trumpeted around Luton in Bedfordshire this summer as The Big Trunk Trail.

The free, outdoor art spectacular was a gift to Luton by Keech Hospice Care, who will benefit from the auction’s final proceeds. The charity, which provides free, specialist care for adults in Luton and south Bedfordshire, and children from Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Milton Keynes, joined with sponsors to gift its community the free and unique arts trail as a thank you for its support in the hospice’s thirtieth anniversary year.

TV’s Bake Off champion and Luton born, Nadiya Hussain is set to see her dazzling elephant, Mandala Party, go under the gavel.


"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 Keech Hospice Care’s thirtieth anniversary,” said Nadiya.

Some extremely well-known artists from all over the country have decorated the herd, including former Turner Prize nominee Mark Titchner. The designs range from aeroplanes on the elephant, “Flypast,” to the rainbow colours of, “Flame” and others with environmental, musical, animal and cultural themes also make up the herd. One modern day hero received his own tribute – Captain Sir Tom Moore the great lockdown fundraiser.

The elephant “Inspiring Hope” depicts an image of Captain Sir Tom. His daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore says, “My father was lucky to have so many wonderful opportunities to shine hope where it was needed most in the last year of his life, but being painted on an elephant is certainly one of the more unexpected! The Captain Tom Foundation was created to continue my father’s legacy of optimism and hope, and to make sure that no one feels alone. That’s exactly what Keech Hospice Care is doing every day for so many loved ones in our local area, so my father would have been thrilled to know that he was able to support their excellent work.”

The Big Trunk Trail auction will be in expert hands as the man with the hammer will be none other than Flog It! and Bargain Hunt star, Charles Hanson.

Charles says, “I’ve auctioned some unusual, even unique, things in my time but being given the responsibility for selling the elephants of The Big Trunk Trail has so much more meaning than most of the things I’ve sold. They’ve created an amazing legacy and lasting memories for the people of Luton and it’s wonderful to know that the money raised will be going to such a deserving cause as Keech Hospice Care. I’ve known people who’ve been cared for and supported by the hospice movement and I can’t think of a better way for people to spend their money.”

The Big Trunk Trail online live auction is taking place on Thursday 11 November 2021 at 7:30pm. People must register their interest in advance and can even bid in advance at www.bigtrunktrail.co.uk/auction.

Keech Hospice Care’s vision for The Big Trunk Trail came to life during a global pandemic and at a time the charity was hit hardest in its thirtieth anniversary year. Liz Searle, the hospice CEO, says, “We were overwhelmed by the public response to the trail. It brought a COVID-isolated community back together after a tricky sixteen months and I shall be sad to see the herd go. Having said that, the auction will allow the elephants to go to their forever homes with a trumpeting fanfare and we’re really hopeful that generous art collectors and elephant-lovers alike will take part, online, to raise vital funds to keep Keech caring for adults and children with life-limiting and terminal illnesses.”

Mark Russell, proud father of Harry, who is going to be sharing his story at the auction, knows more than anyone the importance of Keech Hospice Care to the local community. “Although Harry had a short life, the most significant moment for him and our family was when Keech came into our lives. Keech helped us make memories that will last forever and still support our family to this day.”

The Big Trunk Trail would never have been possible without the generous support of so many local businesses which each sponsored a sculpture of their own. Love Luton has been the Project Presenting Partner for the whole event. Chair Linsey Sweet says, “Back when The Big Trunk Trail first trumpeted into town we said it would showcase Luton at its best. The trail’s done exactly that; it’s given people a reason to discover parts of the town they’d possibly never visited before, and it’s meant the making of so many wonderful memories for our community.”

The elephant sculptures were produced by Wild in Art, a leading producer of public art events. Charlie Langhorne, Managing Director and Co-founder at Wild in Art, says, “The Big Trunk Trail has been a great event and we’ve been proud to be involved with such a wonderful charity as Keech Hospice Care. Auction time is always so exciting for us, knowing that the funds raised will help Keech continue making moments that matter for their local community.”

Final proceeds from the auction will help Keech Hospice Care continue to care for adults in Luton and south Bedfordshire and children from Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Milton Keynes with life-limiting and terminal illnesses. Sign up today by clicking here and follow the lead up at @BigTrunkTrail on social media.

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