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Horsham town sticks its neck out for charities

Horsham Giraffe Trail kicks off this weekend on Saturday, October 26, and runs through to Saturday, November 9, and a selection of them were on Display at The Capitol, Horsham on Monday, October 21.

Over 51 artistically decorated giraffes will be on display around town. Each one is owned by a local business and has a charity partner. The giraffes will be paraded through Horsham town centre at midday led by a bagpiper.

The parade begins at Swan Walk shopping centre and will wind through the town to West Street before moving to their homes around the town.

Members of the public are then invited to follow the Giraffe Trail to discover the name of each giraffe and be in with the chance of winning a 42” TV donated by the Sony Centre or one of more than 60 other prizes donated by friends of the giraffes.

President of Horsham Rotary club, Peter Lake said: “John Le Rossignol pitched it to me. It’s an amazing scheme, I think the one thing that impresses me the most is hot it has bought people together. I think it would be a great thing to do in the future.”

Rotary treasurer John Le Rossignol said: “It was originally done in Stockbridge, Edinburgh by a shopkeeper there. We had a meeting with Horsham District Council and Horsham Unlimited to do it and this year it will be replacing trick or treat around the shops.”

Originally, it was only planned for there to be 25 to 30 giraffes but word spread and now there are 51. John added: “We’re still getting people calling to ask if they can have one. It has really captured the imagination of the town.”

Brochures and competition entry forms will be available in Swan Walk, The Linen Shop, Guy Leonard, Mansell McTaggat, and Woodlands Estate Agents. The competition is free to enter although a small donation is encouraged.

You can donate with cash or by texting GIRA00£ followed by the amount to 70070. Donations to the charity supported by a particular giraffe can also be made by texting the code for that giraffe with the sum donated to 70070.

A number of local businesses have gotten involved and have got celebrities to sign their giraffes. Guy Leonard Estate agents are partnered with Horsham Community Responders. Michelle Betts at Guy Leonard estate agents said: “We’ve got Brian May to sign our giraffe, Charlotte Bell at our Pulborough office met him and explained the scheme to him and also how the responders went out to help her other half.”

Other businesses involved include local PR company PMW Communications who incorporated the life of Dame Vera Lynn into their giraffe design. The Dame Vera Lynn trust is their chosen charity and operations director Tracie Carter said: “It is wonderful how she has used her celebrity to start the charity. Some of the photos of her on the giraffe have never been seen before.”

Woodlands estate agents partnered with Phoenix Stroke Club. Judith Trigg from the club said: “We have a woodland theme on our giraffe and all our members helped towards the finished product. They are so excited about it and they ahve been following it on Facebook. We’ve all become quite attached to the giraffe.”

Sainsbury’s Horsham are raising money for their partnered charity, the Kent, Surrey, and Sussex Air Ambulance. Jane Etheridge from Sainsbury’s Horsham said: “The air ambulance crew signed the giraffe. We used recycled plastic bags to design the giraffe. It’s an absolutely amazing scheme and it brings the town together.”

All giraffes will eventually be auctioned with funds going to the charity of that giraffe, anyone wishing to make a bid or to register interest in the auction should email horshamrotary@btconnect.com.

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