Star Struck by a Better Telly-phant

Posted on the 19 June 2019

Star Struck by a Better Telly-phant

ONE of the businesses backing Elmer’s Great North Parade came face to face with some of the region’s best loved stars – on the back of an elephant.

Greenwich Leisure Limited, a social enterprise which runs six Better Leisure facilities across Newcastle including Better Eldon Leisure Centre, has sponsored one of the 50 elephant sculptures which will form the Parade when it opens to the public on 21 August.

And their sculpture, decorated by comic, actor, impressionist, singer and radio presenter, Alfie Joey, depicts a whole host of famous faces from the region.

A keen cartoonist, whose drawings sell worldwide, Alfie has spent five months working on his ‘Telly the Elephant’ which features everyone from sporting figures, such as Steve Cram, to broadcaster Kate Adie and entertainment giants Ant and Dec.

“It’s taken longer than I thought it would take, because it’s a different way of working than I’m used to,” he said, “but it’s exactly how I’d pictured it in my mind.

“There’s still some work to be done – it will need serval coats of varnish, for a start – but I’ve really enjoyed it and I hope visitors to the Parade will enjoy it, too.”

Alfie’s Telly the Elephant will be sited at the Better Eldon Leisure Centre within intu Eldon Square and Alison Westworth, partnership manager in Newcastle for GLL, which is the biggest leisure provider in the UK, said: “We hope as many people as possible will come to see him.

“Our organisation is about people and we love that Alfie has depicted so many of the men and women who have represented the region on a national and international stage.

“We are delighted with what Alfie has done and really hope that Telly the Elephant encourages people who may not have visited our Eldon Square facility to come and find out a little more about what we offer.”

The 11-week long Parade, which will be delivered by St Oswald’s Hospice in partnership with Wild in Art and Elmer publisher Andersen Press, will end on 1 November and the statues will then be auctioned on 12 November.

All money raised at The Big Elmer Auction will go to St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice, which provides specialist care for North East babies, children and young people with incurable conditions and support for their families and loved ones.

Jane Hogan, Elmer’s Great North Parade project lead, said: “It’s fantastic to have Better on-board as a sculpture sponsor.

“I think the coupling with Telly the Elephant and Alfie is the perfect fit to Better’s ethos of representing and empowering people and anyone signing up to take part in Elmer’s Patchwork Parade, in July, at Saltwell Park, Gateshead, may get an exclusive sneaky peak at the finished Telly the Elephant sculpture.”

Along with the 50 large sculptures the trail will feature more than 100 little Elmers, designed and decorated by North East schools, youth groups and organisations.

For more information about Elmer’s Great North Parade, including corporate and sponsorship opportunities, visit or follow the trail on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #greatnorthelmer.