A HERD of colourful elephants will take over Southend this summer as part of an art trail which will raise vital funds for a hospice.

Herd In The City - created by Havens Hospices and Wild In Art - will see more than 30 large elephant sculptures dotted around the city, Leigh and Shoebury.

Each one will be painted by professional artists and then sponsored by a business based in Southend.

A mini-herd of baby elephant art pieces will also be set up, with schools and community groups getting involved with the design process.

At the end of the trail, the elephants will be sold at auction, with all proceeds raising money for Havens Hospices.

It follows the success of the charity’s ‘Hares About Town’ trail in 2021 which raised more than £447,000.

Herd In The City will officially launch today with renowned Southend artist John Bully unveiling a bespoke elephant mural on High Street promoting the trail.

Rachel Hawksworth, project manager for Havens Hospices, said: “We are so excited at the thought of a parade of elephants standing proud among Southend’s iconic attractions, bringing colour and fun to the city.

“Herd In The City will offer everyone a great day out, exploring parts of the city they may not have visited before, as well as raise thousands of pounds for the free, specialist hospice care Havens Hospices provides for adults, children, and their families.”

Representatives from Havens Hospices will attend the mural unveiling today and will be on hand to provide information to people wanting to take part.

The decision to focus on elephants for this project was made by staff and volunteers at Havens Hospices.

Charlie Langhorne, managing director of Wild In Art which will be providing artists for the project, said: “Building on the excitement of ‘Hares About Town’ I have no doubt that this trail will capture the imaginations of residents and visitors alike.

“With your support, we can create an event that will have significant impact during the summer of 2023.”

Applications to design one of the elephants can be made online at www.herdinthe.city