Have you herd the news – the Arctic Monkeys are coming home to Sheffield!
No, not the band – we are, of course, referring to the iconic Herd of Sheffield elephant, which has packed its trunk and is heading back to the city after being scooped up at the Herd of Sheffield auction for a whopping £16,500.
The winning bid came from Alexis and Kate Krachai, a pair of Sheffield business owners, who have now gifted the much-loved elephant back to the city.
The 6ft elephant will now set up permanent home in the Winter Garden where Alexis and Kate are hoping he will attract visitors into the city centre for years to come and help raise awareness of the Children’s Hospital Charity.
As committed supporters of The Children’s Hospital Charity, Alexis and Kate’s sister companies – Counter Context and Quality Context – also sponsored two of the herd’s elephants along with one of the £25,000 rooms in the hospital’s new wing.
“We loved AM from day one,” said Kate, of the elephant she and Alexis first set their sights on after seeing it at a preview event.
“He represents two of the city’s most important cultural assets – the Arctic Monkeys and the fantastic legacy of the herd. As local companies, we want to celebrate everything that makes our city great and this elephant does just that.”
Alexis added: “Kate and I felt strongly that it wouldn’t be right to keep AM tucked away.
“The city loved this elephant and the city deserves to see and enjoy it. We want to give visitors an opportunity to make a donation when taking photos with the elephant, raising vital funds for this important charity.
“We are also thinking about the local visitor economy – we very much hope that people will continue visiting Sheffield to see AM.”
The AM elephant, sponsored and signed by Sheffield legends the Arctic Monkeys – was based outside Sheffield Town Hall and was one of the most popular sculptures on the trail, organised by the charity and Wild in Art.
Rebecca Staden, fundraising manager at The Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “I am absolutely delighted that AM is returning to the city as a legacy to the project. Huge thanks go to Counter Context and Quality Context for their generosity and for publicly exhibiting the elephant for the whole city to continue to enjoy.”
And AM’s story isn’t the only heart-warming one to come out of the auction – a local family helped Porter Croft C of E Primary pupils bring their own elephant home after their collection fell a little short at the auction, which raised £410,600 for The Children’s Hospital Charity.
Neill Birchenall, a Porter Croft parent, began collecting donations from other parents over the summer to bid on the One For All elephant, that many pupils at the school helped local artist and Porter Croft parent Emma Jackson create. Neill said: “We went into the auction with what I thought was a good chance of winning, however after the first few elephants all went for over £5,000 I began to have doubts. As our lot came up the auctioneer kindly mentioned there was a parent representative from the school present who would be bidding on behalf of the parents.
“Our budget, made up of the generous contributions and pledges, stretched to £3,000 and I eventually had to bow out of the bidding. The room was audibly disappointed and at that time a man I had never met announced he would like to continue the bidding on behalf of the school – and won the elephant for us at a final price of £5,200!
“Later he told me his mother, a local resident of Hunters Bar, had recently passed away. She had always loved and collected elephants and he was at the auction with his sisters to buy one in her memory. When the opportunity presented itself to help the school at the same time he jumped in.
“So now our elephant will be coming home to the school having raised a very respectable £5,200, and remain forever in memory of local resident Sue Dixon.”
n The Star Says: Page 18