Barnstaple Elephant Day evolves

IT was an elephantine occasion at Trinity Street in Barnstaple on Saturday as residents and visitors turned out to celebrate Elephant Day. A community event based on the discovery of a straight tusked elephant fossil 165 years ago might seem unusual but a

IT was an elephantine occasion at Trinity Street in Barnstaple on Saturday as residents and visitors turned out to celebrate Elephant Day.

A community event based on the discovery of a straight tusked elephant fossil 165 years ago might seem unusual but a variety of activities organised by the Museum of Barnstaple and Councillor Simon Harvey made it work, with an afternoon parade to the Square - and the return of the 'Barnstaple Elephant.'

Andy Currant of the Natural History Museum brought the teeth of the extinct creature back to Barnstaple and talked to visitors about their discovery in 1844 near Summerland Street.

A tusk and vertebra were also found and he revealed a juvenile tooth was discovered alongside. In fact the vertebra could even be from an extinct hippopotamus, making it an important find.


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There was plenty more to see and do at the event hosted by the Moose Hall, with a pet competition, drumming workshops by Lampard Samba Band, craft activities, a talk by 'Mr Darwin' and even elephant shaped biscuits to munch on!

Mr Harvey was pleased with the response and said: "I think it created the right sort of atmosphere and I think we can build on this."

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The afternoon concluded with a parade to the Square, led by the samba band and featuring a large elephant created in workshops by local children led by artists Sue Russell and Alison Rickman.

The creation will feature in Barnstaple Carnival this September and all who would like to join it in the parade are invited to contact museum curator Alison Mills on (01271) 346747. To join in planning next year's Elephant Day, contact the museum or Simon Harvey on 07817 084812.

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