Charity elephant vandalised as arts trail begins

A £3,000 elephant sculpture has been targeted by vandals on the first day of a charity art trail.

The piece, one of more than 70 elephants on show in parks, streets and open spaces in Lichfield, Tamworth and Sutton Coldfield, has been withdrawn from the display.

A spokesman for St Giles Hospice, which the fundraiser was for said the damage was believed to have been deliberate and the sculpture, named Vince, was too badly damaged to remain.

The elephants, painted by professional artists, will be auctioned off in September.

A line of painted elephant sculptures
Professional artists have painted 30 large sculptures, with more than 40 smaller ones largely decorated by the local community [MOTE]

Vince had been placed in Bore Street, Lichfield, outside sponsor Davison's Law office.

"Despite this setback, all our other sculptures are out and about and are being adored by our local community," project manager Georgia Hayes said.

"We hope everyone will continue to enjoy finding and interacting with them. These friendly creatures need to be treated with respect. We kindly ask all trail-goers to be gentle and refrain from climbing or swinging on the sculptures."

The project took about 18 months to pull together from artists submitting their plans through to the sculptures being decorated, Ms Haynes said.

Close up of a design
The elephants are being "hidden in plain sight" in Tamworth, Lichfield and Sutton Coldfield [MOTE]

"There's been elephants in every single room," she said, "we've had lots of them painted here."

The sculptures have been "hidden in plain sight" across the three towns, and people are able to follow the March of the Elephants trail using an interactive app.

The money raised from the auction will "absolutely mean the world" to the hospice, Ms Haynes continued.

Staffordshire Police has been told about the damage.

Painted elephants and hospice staff
Thirty large elephant sculptures will be auctioned off in September to support St Giles Hospice in Lichfield [MOTE]

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