Reports of elephants gathering in the town of Luton have now been confirmed.
Although not indigenous to Bedfordshire, intermittent ground shaking and sporadic trumpeting sounds have provided unmistakable signs of the presence of elephants in Luton Town Centre over the last few weeks.
Further investigation has led wildlife experts to the old Post Office unit at The Mall Luton, where it appears elephants are gathering, behind closed doors, in readiness for a summer outing.
Lavinia Douglass, The Mall Luton’s Marketing Manager, has now confirmed that this is indeed the case: “Yes, the rumours are true. Rare albino elephants have been gathering at The Mall Luton throughout the most recent lockdown and I can now reveal why. They are making preparation to parade for Keech Hospice Care’s Big Trunk Trail, a spectacular, public, Wild in Art event coming to Luton this summer. Over thirty elephants are taking part, each lending their billboard-size form as a canvas, and, as Artistic Partner for this event, we have been providing studio space for their transformation. Preparations will be ongoing for some weeks yet, and, although it’s all happening behind closed doors, if you follow the rumbling and kerfuffle in The Mall, you may be lucky enough to sneak a peek”.
Liz Searle, CEO of Keech Hospice Care, confirmed Douglass’s explanation, saying:
“This year marks the 30th anniversary of Keech Hospice Care, and The Big Trunk Trail is our way of saying thank you to the truly remarkable people, businesses and organisations who have supported us through the years. The Mall is a fantastic example of one of our key partnerships and we are thrilled to have them as our Artistic Partner for this event; we can’t thank them enough for keeping our elephants safe and giving the artists a fantastic space in which to paint”.
The elephants have been sponsored by local businesses and will be individually brought to life with designs crafted by artists from Luton and beyond. Artists have begun work already, including Bedfordshire-born Beverley Sweetman, who has been chosen as the artist for The Mall’s own elephant. A full-time artist renowned for her observational study of wildlife, Beverley loves to explore the shape and form of creatures of the animal kingdom, which can take both literal and abstract forms. An ideal choice for such a commission!
Although most of the elephants will be staying out of the public eye until the big reveal in July, Keech Hospice Care’s own elephants -Unity and her baby, Peanut- can occasionally be spotted around town and in The Mall themselves now that restrictions have eased. Anyone fortunate enough to encounter one of these flamboyant Wild in Art pachyderms can be assured that they are entirely safe to approach. Although friendly, it is in their nature to freeze in the presence of humans, so they pose no threat to public safety.
Please follow the herd on social media @bigtrunktrail or visit our website www.bigtrunktrail.co.uk.