Elmer's Big Heart of Kent Parade sculpture parade in Maidstone in summer 2021
One of the world's most treasured children's book characters is coming to Kent this summer, bringing some much-needed colour and joy to its county town.
In just four months’ time, Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade will see 50 uniquely designed elephant sculptures scattered around Maidstone, its river path, countryside and parks in a family friendly art trail.
The event, which will raise money for Heart of Kent Hospice in Aylesford, is based on Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, the star of one of the most iconic children's books by David McKee.
The parade was supposed to debut last summer but in March, because of the pandemic, the hospice had to make the difficult decision to postpone the celebrations.
Now, after months of planning to make it Covid secure, Elmer and his friends will return for the hospice's 30th anniversary year with the parade running for nine weeks from Saturday. June 19, until Sunday, August 22.
It's hoped after what has been a difficult year, the free outdoor walking trail will be a chance for the community to come together to recover, heal and more importantly, have some fun.
During the lockdown, Heart of Kent Hospice’s fundraising was significantly impacted.
All 14 of its charity shops were forced to close and most fundraising events were cancelled, all while the hospice was continuing its work on the frontline.
Sarah Pugh, the chief executive of Heart of Kent Hospice said: “This year is our 30th anniversary and we’re looking forward to celebrating with our community.
"Our nine-week parade over the summer is a unique event that will help us connect with local people and local businesses to create a lasting legacy for the hospice and for Maidstone.”
Each elephant sculpture, featuring designs by local and national artists, will then be auctioned to further support the charity.
The trail will be supported by 31 baby Elmers which have been adopted by local schools and community groups and which will be found gathered in small herds inside key venues around Maidstone.
KM Media Group is the official media partner for Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade.
Other backers include Gullands solicitors, Westerhill Homes, Chartway Group, Scarbutts Printers, MCM Net, Clive Emson, Maidstone Borough Council, Gallagher Group, Paydens Group and One Maidstone.