Excited schools and groups have been treated to a sneak peek of their spectacular baby elephants before Herd In The City launches later this month.

The Echo is a proud media partner for the art trail – created by Havens Hospices and Wild in Art - will have more than 45 large elephant sculptures and 72 baby elephants dotted around Southend from July 14 to September 4.

The baby elephants are all part of the Learning Programme, sponsored by Rickard Luckin, which allows children, young people and community groups to experiment with different art forms, empowering them to take ownership and showcase their artwork to thousands of people, making art accessible to all.

The preview event, held for everyone involved in the Learning Programme, saw people of all ages enjoying the art created by schools, youth groups and a care home.

Richmond Avenue Primary School, in Shoebury, received hundreds of designs following a school-wide competition.

Echo: Richmond Avenue Primary School pupils with their elephantRichmond Avenue Primary School pupils with their elephant (Image: Havens Hospices)

Their baby elephant is called ‘Halaya’ and means "sanctuary or safe harbour", which the school thought was a fitting name given who they were fundraising for.

Headteacher Miss Moneypenny says: “We are all very excited about the launch and the trail. For the last trail, Hares About Town, the children were challenged to find as many hares as possible over the summer, and it became a school-wide challenge. Lots of children are already talking about Herd In The City and the challenge of not just finding our elephant but going on the hunt to find as many as they can!”

KAOS Youth Club in Rochford joined the herd to raise money for their charity and be part of the wider community. Members of the youth club came up with the design following a competition, with the chosen design showing what happens at the youth club and what they believe in.

Echo: KAOS members with their elephantKAOS members with their elephant (Image: Havens Hospice)

All the children got involved and enjoyed painting and naming their baby elephant ‘Zuko’. Following the trail the baby elephant will be donated to Southend University Hospital Neptune ward for children.

Every pupil at Kingsdown School in Southend has contributed to their elephant, ‘Kingsley’, with a blue mark representing each pupil’s voice and an expression of their individuality.

Deputy Headteacher Lisa Stroud says: “Being a part of Herd in the City has enabled our pupils and their families to give something back to this remarkable place and those they consider their extended family. We are so proud of our pupils’ achievement and can't wait to see ‘Kingsley’ standing proud too!”

Echo: Kingsdown School's 'Kingsley' designKingsdown School's 'Kingsley' design (Image: Havens Hospices)

Jotmans Hall Primary School in Benfleet felt Herd In The City was the perfect choice to unite the whole school in a project for the school’s 50th anniversary.

The children were eager to include their school colours and balloons to signify birthday celebrations. The design also includes the school mascot, ERIC the owl. Their elephant, 'Rainbow', was unveiled during a special assembly.

Echo: Pupils Lily, Leo and Teddy with 'Rainbow'Pupils Lily, Leo and Teddy with 'Rainbow' (Image: Havens Hospice)

Owner of Rie's Playhouse, a childminder in Eastwood, Marie Smale, was inspired to get involved after enjoying the charity’s previous trail, Hares About Town.

The fun and eye-catching design of baby elephant, ‘Signbow’, named by Coral Simmons, features the full British Sign Language alphabet, representing the vibrancy of sign language – a rainbow of signs.

Marie says: “The elephant is bright, busy and full of hand shapes - just like a conversation in sign language.

“I hope that ‘Signbow’ helps to raise awareness and support of our local deaf community and inspire people to consider learning British Sign Language.”

Echo: Rie's Playhouse owner Marie Smale with Josh, Coral and Maddie and their 'Signbow' elephantRie's Playhouse owner Marie Smale with Josh, Coral and Maddie and their 'Signbow' elephant (Image: Havens Hospice)

Once the trail goes live, trail-goers can purchase a map from any Havens Hospices charity shop and other venues, including the Pier Information Centre, The Forum and Herd HQ at The Royals Shopping Centre. There will also be a ‘Herd In The City’ app, which can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.

Havens Hospices provides specialist care and support for people of all ages who are living with incurable conditions and their families. This care is provided absolutely free of charge and is made possible thanks to donations and fundraising initiatives such as Herd In The City.

For more information about the trail, visit www.herdinthe.city.