Sunderland businesses urged to back Elmer’s Great North Parade ahead of elephant trail coming to city

Sunderland businesses have joined the herd to support one of the region’s most exciting events in 2019.

By Sophie Brownson
Thursday, 18 April, 2019, 06:00
L to R) Lucy Malarkey (Gentoo), Marie Liston (SCS), Sharon Appleby. (Sunderland Bid,) Samantha Czwordon-Auld, (The Bridges), Naomi Osborne (The Bridges).

The Elmer’s Great North Parade will kick off in August, made up of 50 uniquely decorated elephant sculptures that will be dotted around the region for visitors to check out.

The trail follows on from the popular Great North Snowdogs trail held in 2016 which raised around £367,000 for St Oswald’s Hospice.

Running from August 21 to November 1, visitors will be able to travel around the North East to see all of the sculptures.

And in the run up to its launch, a number of Sunderland companies are pledging their support.

Sunderland BID, the Bridges, sofa and carpet specialist, ScS and Gentoo are funding elephants, recognising the massive boost huge visitor numbers will mean to the city.

They are hoping that other businesses will follow their lead and help to grow the number of elephants the city has to offer.

Sharon Appleby, head of business operations at Sunderland BID, believes being part of Elmer’s Great North Parade is massively important.

She said: “We know that the Snowdogs boosted the region’s economy by more than £16m and brought 676,000 visitors to the trail, many of whom came to see the Sunderland dogs,” she said.

“This is why it is vital that businesses in the city get behind this year’s event to ensure we get a giant share of visitors to see the Sunderland elephants.”

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Samantha Czwordon-Auld, marketing and communications manager at the Bridges, said: “We know how popular our Snowdogs were, so we didn’t hesitate in getting behind Elmer’s Great North Parade.

“And we would really like to encourage other businesses to sponsor an elephant to ensure that we have a good number in the city to give people a reason to visit.”

Lucy Malarkey, Gentoo’s customer director, added: “Elmer’s Great North Parade is a fantastic project for encouraging people from across the region to visit Sunderland and see all of the great things it has to offer.

“We’re really excited to be involved and look forward to working with other local businesses to bring Elmer to the city.”

Marie Liston, corporate services director at SCS said the company was also delighted to be giving its support.

She said: “We’re proud to be based in Sunderland and proud to be sponsoring the Elmer Trail.

“This is a real opportunity for Sunderland businesses to give visitors a reason to visit the city this summer; as well as raising much needed funds for a wonderful North East children’s charity.”

More information about the parade is available at