From ‘heartbreak hotel’ to finally ‘peace in the valley’ – Elvis the eel has caused quite the stir!
We were ‘all shook up’ when Elvis was stolen from his perch back in June 2020. Elvis was one of two of our eels taken from Severn Valley Country Park in Alveley. However, after a 7.5 month journey downstream, the carved animal was found on Portishead Beach in Somerset. Over 100 miles away from his home! Now, thanks to local residents who spotted Elvis and moved him to safety, he is being reinstated back in his rightful place.
Elvis is back at the Severn Valley Country Park! Slightly lopsided at the moment, but he is being fitted this week.
The eels are a key feature of Severn Valley Country Park, where a River Severn-themed play area has been created as part of the Unlocking the Severn project. The play area was created to engage children with important role the River Severn plays in both history and ecology.
Alex, our Senior Project Manager, says it perfectly:
“We really want to inspire young minds about the wildlife and stories of the River Severn. This new play area will spark imaginative outdoor play and the hand-on sculptural trail will guide families down to take in the view of the river.
“Severn Valley Country Park is the ideal place for families to experience the beautiful River Severn landscape and learn more about the river’s wildlife and heritage.”
Disaster struck in 2020 when Elvis and a second wooden eel went missing from the park. We appealed to the public for help, but feared all was lost. Fast forward to February 2021, Elvis was discovered on a beach in Portishead, 111 miles away. Elvis’s (forced) migration even reached the news! The amazing discovery was covered by the BBC and ITV as well as featuring in the Daily Mail and the Guardian.
Elvis washed up on the beach. Photo by Michelle Lucking
Volunteers carrying Elvis to safety, i.e. above the tide line! Photo by Michelle Lucking.
This week Elvis has been returned to his home in the Severn Valley Country Park. Thank you to Flights of Fantasy and Shropshire County Council, as well as Ms. Lucking for spotting him! Sadly the second eel was not recovered, so a replacement is being carved and will be restored next to Elvis.
Elvis restored to his perch in the park.
We are hugely grateful to everyone who has contributed to finding Elvis, for sharing the story on social media, and bringing the information to the attention of the council. Hopefully children and adults alike will be able to appreciate Elvis as part of our River Severn-themed play area now that he is back where he belongs.