Did it pack its trunk and go to the circus? The hunt for Cromer’s mysterious mechanical elephant

It was larger than a donkey, could carry up to six children at a time and delighted seaside crowds - yet no one can seem to remember the life of Cromer's mechanical elephant.

The lifelike beast would trundle along the promenade and around the pier forecourt on a set of wheels carrying excited youngsters on its back.

Among those to take a ride many years ago was Michael Gregory who has now been inspired to track down the ancient attraction's whereabouts after reading a story in the News about another elephant making an appearance in the town.

Mr Gregory, who holidayed in Cromer as a child, was reading the News' coverage of the town's carnival parade when he spotted the picture of overall winner, Delhi the Ellie.

This reminded him of the black and white snap of he and his friends sitting astride the beach dwelling ellie, pictured, and he has now set about digging out more on its history.

The 69-year-old from Stoke on Trent - who still makes annual trips to the seaside town to see friends and family - said: 'I saw that article on the winner of the carnival and that's what triggered my memory.

'I can remember the elephant vividly. I remember going on it and it would just trundle along the front. I can't remember it going fast but I can remember its wheels running along.'

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But despite bringing his photo on a recent trip to Cromer Mr Gregory has not been able to find anyone who remembers going on the elephant or even seeing it on the beach.

He said: 'We have asked the locals, in the cafes, we have been in the church with older people and not one person can help us. They have all got a complete blank on it and can't remember it.'

Internet searches have also proved fruitless as all Mr Gregory has been able to find is a video clip of a similar man made mammal walking the beach in Hull in the 1950s.

'I'd love to know where it came from and what's happened to it. I hope the picture will trigger somebody's memory,' he added.

? Do you know any more about the elephant, what happened to it or where it is now? Contact reporter Lucy Clapham on 01263 513453 or email lucy.clapham@archant.co.uk