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News story

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall joins children’s elephant-themed storytelling event in St James’s Park

22 Jun 2021

HRH elephant trail

Today, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall united two charities she supports, the National Literacy Trust and Elephant Family, for a celebration of elephants and reading in line with the installation of the Coexistence herd in St James’s Park.

Her Royal Highness, our patron, and joint Royal President of the Elephant Family, brought us together for a fun, elephant-themed storytelling event with pupils from Vauxhall Primary School.

When Her Royal Highness arrived, she met our Chief Executive Jonathan Douglas CBE, Ruth Ganesh, Trustee of the Elephant Family and Alex Cole, Bupa Foundation Chair.

Together, they escorted her to one of the herds of elephants in the park where children from Vauxhall Primary School were busy being entertained by Petr Horacek, author of Elephant (Walker Books) and Nizrana Farook, author of The Girl Who Stole an Elephant (Nosy Crow) with fun storytelling activities.

Her Royal Highness joined the children and read Elmer by David McKee (Andersen Press) aloud to the pupils, a much-loved timeless story about being proud to be yourself. Every pupil who attended the event also got to take home a free copy of Elmer to enjoy with their families at home.

The event was made possible with support from our partner Bupa Foundation who run and help fund practical projects that have a positive impact on mental health and resilience. The Foundation work with us to support children and young people’s wellbeing through literacy.

The CoExistence campaign aims to prompt a moment of collective empathy for the world’s biggest and most intelligent land animal. It links with the National Literacy Trust’s belief that reading for pleasure teaches children about the world, allowing them to step into someone else’s shoes and feel empathy, all while developing essential literacy skills.

The event also marks the launch of a unique elephant-themed story trail, created by the National Literacy Trust, supported by the Bupa Foundation and Elephant Family.

The Elephant Story Trail invites families with young children to print a free, downloadable, specially illustrated map and follow the migrating elephant herds through Green Park to St James’s Park, completing nature-themed challenges along the way and learn about elephant conservation as they explore the trail.

The resource is available for free on our Words for Life website.

It highlights where all the herds of elephants are situated, with fun reading and writing activities to enjoy along the journey. Families are also welcome to take part in the nature-themed activities at home.

“We were delighted to have Her Royal Highness join our wonderful storytelling event at St James’s Park. The pupils from Vauxhall Primary School loved seeing the CoExistence elephants up close and enjoyed the brilliant storytelling from authors Petr Horacek and Nizrana Farook. It was a really special moment for the pupils to hear the heart-warming story of Elmer read by Her Royal Highness herself in this beautiful setting.”

Jonathan Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust
HRH elephant trail

To find out more about the Elephant Story Trail, visit:

Special thanks to The Royal Parks charity who care for each of London's Royal Parks for everyone to enjoy.

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