Column: A fitting finale to Sheffield’s mammoth elephant trail

Herd of Sheffield Farewell event. David Vernon-Edwards Chief Executive Sheffield Children's Hospital Charity with darren Pearce, director Meadowhall Centre
Herd of Sheffield Farewell event. David Vernon-Edwards Chief Executive Sheffield Children's Hospital Charity with darren Pearce, director Meadowhall Centre

As director of the Children’s Hospital Charity I see first hand the incredible work that goes on at Sheffield Children’s Hospital every single day.

It’s a pleasure and an honour to be able to support our amazing hospital and as a charity we’re always thinking of ways that we can do more. Which is why we’ve spent the past three months chasing our 58 Herd of Sheffield elephants around the city.

The Herd is by far the biggest project we’ve ever taken on. It’s required a mammoth amount of effort, not just from the charity team but also from businesses and creative people throughout the city who have pulled together to make the project a reality. It’s been a brilliant summer but it’s finally time for the elephants to find permanent homes.

Each of our 58 elephants will be auctioned off tonight (Thursday) at the Crucible Theatre to help raise money for a new multipurpose fluoroscopy machine, a specialist piece of machinery used to obtain real-time moving X-rays. The children’s hospital’s current fluoroscopy machine was purchased in 2006 and will soon be obsolete, with no further spare parts of engineer support available beyond the end of this year. Not only does the system we’re fundraising for have far greater capacity to diagnose and treat patients, it also operates with as little radiation as possible – meaning that the process is as safe as it can possibly be.

I know how important fluoroscopy is in the diagnosis of children – my own daughter’s life was saved by the hospital in 2010, and the current fluoroscopy machine was used during the procedures that made her better. The new machine is even better and I am sure it will bless many parents in the way that the old one blessed me.

From fun runs to elephant fancy dress, the people of Sheffield have really got behind the Herd and I am hopeful that the auction will serve as a fitting finale. For those who can’t attend there are options for online and telephone bidding which you can access through www.herdofsheffield.com/get-involved/auction online.

By taking part and bidding high, you’ll not only be in with the chance of owning a one-of-a-kind piece of Sheffield heritage, you could make a lifesaving difference for children throughout Yorkshire and beyond.