Larne’s Salvation Army shop is trumpeting the good news that it has received a life-sized baby elephant statue to sell for charity.
The ornament, which measures around five feet tall from its base to the tip of its trunk, was donated by a local woman who had been using it to decorate her hallway.
The statue, whose mosaic glass-style coating gives it a glittering effect, was too large to fit in a Transit van for transportation and required three men to lift it into the Dunluce Street store.
Manageress Jackie Merrell told the Times that the arrival of the impressive pachyderm last Saturday caught staff at the shop completely by surprise.
“I had sent my brother to get it as he has a van, but it didn’t fit so we had to get the man from the furniture removal shop opposite to get it for us,” she revealed.
“We have always said that we don’t refuse anything, and this would be one of the strangest things we have ever received!
“We love unusual items and the woman asked us if we could sell it.
“We are calling it Nelly the elephant; she has packed her trunk and went to the Salvation Army Shop!”
While the ornament may prove too imposing for a small flat, Jackie, who has worked at the shop for 26 years, believes that it would suit a hotel or restaurant looking for a talking point, or even a large house.
Jackie also revealed that the statue donation was the second valuable animal-themed ornament that the charity shop took delivery of last week.
“We received two Staffordshire china pugs made in the 1890s which are very valuable and we are considering taking to auction,” she explained.
“They are very rare; we got them from a house clearance and we had them looked over by an auctioneer.”
While several charity shops in Larne have closed in the past year, Jackie says that the Larne Salvation Army branch is going from strength to strength.
“I think it’s because of our prices and the fact that in some other charity shops a lot of the money goes to the men at the top, while it could be only 5p in the pound is going to the actual charity,” she stated.
“Here all of the money we raise is sent to the Salvation Army.
“We are actually one of the best Salvation Army shops in the UK for raising funds, and they have even sent people down here to see how we are doing it.
“I would like to thank everyone for being so generous, both the people who donate and members of the public who have supported us.”
To make an offer on the elephant statue or pugs, call into the Dunluce Street store.