I first started thinking about organising a sculpture trail fifteen years ago, when visiting my parents who were living in Cincinnati, America.
The city was hosting a pig sculpture trail and it seemed like a really positive and accessible way to bring art to the community.
I knew it was something I wanted to achieve and that it would take the right team, the right charity and the right city to make this project a reality.
Four years ago, whilst working as Fundraising Manager for The Children’s Hospital Charity, I started searching online and found Wild in Art, a company which facilitates sculpture trails throughout the UK and beyond.
They are based in Chapel-on-the-Frith, which is so close to our office that it felt like a sign.
When we were then told the story of Lizzie, the WWI elephant who helped in the steel industry, we knew we had to have elephants and we went for it!
Bringing the herd to the streets of Sheffield took 18 months and a few unexpected challenges – like installing an elephant at 3am in the torrential rain!
There are some things you just can’t plan for but we always hoped that the hard work would pay off.
I’ll never forget installing the final elephant, Henry the Construction worker, down at the Botanical Gardens, it was such an emotional moment for us all.
Originally we were aiming to have 40 sculptures in the trail so to now have 58 is brilliant.
Each and every one is due to the artist creating something really wonderful.
The sponsors investing financially and the gift-in-kind supporters who have given time and products to make it happen.
Everyone involved has pulled together to work towards the same vision– to create something really special for Sheffield Children’s Hospital and our city.
Part of the reason our hospital attracts the best staff in the world is due to the funds that are raised by our amazing supporters.
Everyone who visits the herd and donates (they can do so by texting the word HERD16 £2 to 70070) is doing their bit to fund cutting edge equipment and making the hospital more welcoming for children.
The money that is donated gives children the best chance of a full and healthy life.
I couldn’t be prouder of everyone who has come together to make this happen.
I hope that the city of Sheffield loves the elephants as much as we do.