Heart of Kent Hospice has taken the decision to move Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade back one year, to 2021.
The charity, which is at the frontline of supporting terminally ill people and their families in Maidstone and the surrounding towns and villages, has been in discussions with its event partner Wild in Art to ensure the vibrant mass participation event can go ahead at a time when people can enjoy it safely.
The Parade of beautifully designed Elmer sculptures was set to arrive on the streets of Maidstone on 20 June 2020 and form three trails around the town, its river path, countryside and parks until 23 August for local families and tourists to enjoy.
Sarah Pugh, Chief Executive at Heart of Kent Hospice said: “The Hospice has taken the decision to move the Parade for several reasons. Understandably our priority is to our 880 patients and their loved ones, and to our colleagues, supporters and volunteers; and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of residents and tourists visiting Maidstone for the Parade.
We are supporting our patients to cope with their terminal illness and the isolation they are facing during this very challenging time and we remain committed to helping them live comfortably and with dignity at the end of their lives. Added to which, there will be people who will sadly die from COVID-19 who also need that comfort and dignity. All our efforts are focused on patient care at this time.”
Sarah continued: “We are extremely grateful to our Parade Partners, Sponsors, Schools and Groups who all support our decision to postpone Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade and who are committed to making it even bigger and better in 2021. It will not only be a vibrant, colourful and momentous event for families to enjoy but we hope it will be a celebration of our local community uniting and getting through this challenging time together.”
Charlie Langhorne, Co-founder and Managing Director or Wild in Art said, “We are living in unusual times at the moment and it is inevitable that there will be changes. Wild in Art events are designed to bring the enjoyment of public art to all and when Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade is revealed in 2021, it will give everyone a reason to smile. We look forward to seeing everyone out on the streets once again, enjoying time with friends and family and discovering all the wonderfully painted Elmer sculptures.”