Larne’s Sally Army elephant off to London

Jackie Merrell with Nelly the elephant. INLT-33-702-con
Jackie Merrell with Nelly the elephant. INLT-33-702-con

Larne’s Salvation Army elephant statue “Nelly” is packing her trunk for a London safari thanks to the Larne Times.

A fortnight ago, the Times told how the Dunluce Street Sally Army store had 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, has now been snapped up by a buyer from London, who read about the elephant on the Larne Times website.

“We received a call from a woman who wanted the elephant for her grand daugther’s 13th birthday party which will have a safari theme,” revealed store manageress Jackie Merrell.

“She has already got a life-sized giraffe, gorilla and lion, and the only thing she couldn’t get was a life-sized elephant.

“She googled it and saw it on the Larne Times website and then gave me a call to say she wanted it and would pay the asking price.”

“Nelly,” as she has affectionately been christened, is now due to head to her new home in London’s Clapham area.

Meanwhile, the statue, which required three men and a special removal van to transport it into the shop, has become a talking point.

“People are coming in just to see the elephant,” said Jackie, who has armed herself with an antique “trumpet” which she sounds when visitors attempt to touch the delicate ornament.

“I have been on elephant watch since it came in to make sure that no-one damages it!” she laughed.

Nelly’s new owner has arranged for the popular pachyderm to have VIP treatment on her trip to the mainland, and is organising a courier to ship her over.

The sale has boosted the charity’s coffers by £150 which will go towards supporting the work of the Salvation Army.

Anyone wishing to view Nelly before her departure should hurry, as Jacqui expects her to leave in the next fortnight.

For those still on the lookout for an animal-themed ornament, Jacqui is seeking an owner for two Staffordshire china pugs made in the 1890s which have been valued at £500 by an auctioneer.

“If someone wants to come in and make an offer that’s fine, or we may take them to auction,” Jackie revealed.

To make an offer, call in to the store or phone 02828270965.