Elmer fans wanting to follow the herd have already signed up in their thousands to track their progress on a specially made app.
Over the next 10 weeks, people across the UK are expected to visit the 50 big and 114 little sculptures which make up St Oswald’s Hospice Elmer’s Great North Parade – a free public art trail across North and South Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland and Newcastle.
And trail supporters can track their own progress and find out more about the event with the help of the app, created by Gateshead-based Mediaworks.
Suitable for iPhones and android devices, the app includes an interactive map of the trail using GPS, showing the exact locations of the individually decorated sculptures based on David McKee’s popular storybook character, Elmer the Patchwork Elephant.
Using the four-digit codes displayed on the sculptures’ plaques, users can unlock all the big Elmers and the little herds, which have been decorated by artists, schoolchildren and community groups from across the region.
Users can also vote for their favourite sculptures, upload their own photographs from the trail and find out more about the artists who decorated the sculptures and the businesses which sponsored them.
The app also reveals some extra special rewards and prizes that can be unlocked in stages, along with news about themed weeks and special events happening during the trail.
Since the launch of the Parade (21 Aug), 6600 people have signed up to the app, unlocking 54,000 sculptures and 40,400 total rewards – and more than 4000 photographs have been uploaded to the app by trail supporters.
Project lead Jane Hogan said she is “thrilled with how the app is going so far. It’s early days, but, up to now, we have had 2200 votes for the people’s favourite sculptures, with Ele-fish, at Whitley Bay in the lead, while the most unlocked sculpture is Hapi on Northumberland Street, Newcastle,” she said.
Andrew Blenkinsop, creative director at Mediaworks, said: “The Mediaworks team is delighted to support St Oswald’s as its digital partner for the Great North Elmer trail and we hope the public enjoy the trail as much as they did the Snowdogs back in 2016.
“We look forward to getting out and about exploring the city and using the app to unlock some fantastic rewards from our very generous sponsors’.
The official trail app can be downloaded for 99p from the App Store (iOS) https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/elmers-great-north-parade/id1470362339?ls=1 or Google Play (Android) https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=stoswalds.elmernewcastle.android
To find out more about the app visit www.stoswaldsuk.org/elmer/elmer-app.
Paper trail maps are also available at stockists across the region for a suggested donation of £1. All profits from sales of the app and donations for the map will support the work of St Oswald’s Hospice Children’s Hospice.