This year saw Heart of Kent Hospice carry out Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade, and what a success the event was, raising over £312,000 for the charity smashing their previous expectations.
The elephants were all designed and created by local and national artists on behalf of the Heart of Kent Hospice and we caught up with Bearsted’s own artist Helen Alexander, who designed the Just Bee Elmer statue.
A huge number of families and friends took part in Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade, and Helen Alexander’s Just Bee elephant was a personal design focusing on well-being and mental health. Not only did it bring countless smiles to Elmer hunters, it sold at the charity auction for an astonishing £6,500.
Speaking on her design and the auction, Helen tells us: “It was a spectacular evening and great to see the Elmers again before they went to new homes. When we attended, we had no idea of the amount that was to be raised and I was very nervous about how Just Bee would do. I was rather shocked that he raised £6,500 and I am so happy for the Heart of Kent Hospice who raised £312,000, they smashed what they thought they could raise.
“The Heart of Kent Hospice is a very important charity for Kent and they mean so much to so many people and families. The Heart of Kent Parade was my first art trail that I have been involved with and it has given me confidence to get involved with volunteering and also more art trails. I would like to say thank you to the Heart of Kent Hospice as they have made a real difference in my life too.”
How did you get involved with the project?
“During my regular visits to Facebook I saw the Wild in Art advertisement and decided to have a closer look. I was very happy to find that Maidstone was going to hold the next Elmer art trail and threw myself into the design process and got my submission in pretty quickly and waited nervously for a response. Thankfully my design was chosen by One Maidstone and I feel so honoured that I could paint their Elmer.
“For the design process I could choose any theme I wanted as it is really down to the individual sponsor to then choose the design. Just Bee was a very personal design for me as it represents well-being and mental health. I have suffered for years with anxiety and depression and the greatest advice given to me was to just stop the inner chatter and worries and ‘just be’ for a while.
“Having been quite isolated during the pandemic it has been wonderful being around people again, it has meant so much. It has also been so rewarding to see the public enjoying the trail and I think it has meant so much for them too. Importantly, it has been a great event to raise money for Heart of Kent Hospice, it is such an important charity that relies on charity to support their vital work.”