Children are on safari in Horsham after the colourful launch of the charity Elephantastic trails.
Crowds in the town centre admired the beautifully- decorated model creations under shelter as two elephant trails in the town centre and one beyond it were unveiled on Sunday.
Many people bought maps at £1 each to begin tracking down the strategically placed elephants in the next few weeks and one lucky family from the hundreds entered in a draw will win a trip to Nairobi.
After months of anticipation thousands of people at last got the chance to see the models unveiled, revealing a wide variety array of designs from the subtle to the bold.
Elephant-related entertainments were also laid on.
Although the persistent rain made the town resemble an elephant -watering hole at times, it did not dim the enthusiasm of youngsters and parents seeing the models for the first time.
A mini trail in neighbouring Billingshurst will also be available as well as those in Horsham until August 31.
The venture did not end with Sunday’s impressive launch.
Owners of the elephants, mostly local firms, will see them auctioned off in August. Proceeds of the Elephantastic scheme will go to the Born Free Foundation, based in Horsham, to help preserve wildlife species and also to local charities. Each elephant has a link to a local charity, and the event also served to highlight their work.
Actor Brian Blessed, a supporter of the charity, was unable to be present at the launch because of illness, and Will Travers spoke of the work of the Born Free charity and Elephantastic. Entertainer Dave Benson Phillips was also at the launch.
Horsham Rotary Club created the charity fundraising project, with help from local traders’ organisation Horsham Unlimited, the district council and Billingshurst-based marketing agency PMW Communications. The Rotary Club said it was delighted with the success of the launch and the support from the crowd in the rain.
Local businesses backed the scheme strongly, with 128 elephant- owning companies participating and 64 local charities alongside Born Free Foundation set to benefit from the proceeds.
Among the charity support Wabi in East Street, Horsham, is backing Action Medical Research with a distinctive elephant designed by local artists Jean Holder and Edith Barton and signed by YouTube superstars Marcus Butler and Niomi Smart.