Heart of Kent Hospice brings first-ever art trail to Maidstone

Heart of Kent Hospice brings first-ever art trail to Maidstone

A spectacular, public art installation is coming to Maidstone in the summer of 2020, thanks to a collaboration between Heart of Kent Hospice, creative event producers Wild in Art and independent children’s books publisher Andersen Press.

The Hospice announced the exciting news and generated support from an invited audience of business, local authority and community leaders at a launch event in Maidstone Town Hall yesterday, Thursday 7 March 2019.

At the same time the charity revealed it would be hosting the first-ever sculpture trail in the County town, the star of the show was revealed to be Elmer the Patchwork Elephant.

Elmer, who turns 30 this year, is one of the most iconic and widely read children’s book series of all time.  From June until September 2020, a herd of beautifully decorated Elmers will be marching off the page and onto the streets of Maidstone, providing a stunning tourist attraction in the town for the public to enjoy.

Each Elmer will be uniquely designed by a different artist, and the Hospice aims to have over 40 Elmer sculptures available for sponsorship in iconic locations around the town.

Sarah Pugh, Chief Executive of Heart of Kent Hospice, enthused: “We’re really excited to bring this high quality, temporary tourist attraction to the community we serve and, who in turn, generously support us.

“Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade will bring together all areas of the community to put Maidstone on the map, showcase the wealth of talent in the area and contribute to the economic, cultural and social life of the town, whilst at the same time raising valuable funds and the profile of the Hospice.”

At this first stage Heart of Kent Hospice is inviting businesses and community organisations to sign up and benefit from the opportunities the project will bring, whilst also supporting a much-loved and much-needed, local charity.

Some corporate supporters of the charity have already pledged their participation, including Westerhill Homes, part of the award-winning, Kent-based property and construction company, Chartway Group who is the first Official Presenting Partner of Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade. KM Media Group has kindly agreed to be the Official Media Partner, Scarbutts Printers the Trail’s Official Print Partner, MCM Net, the Official Social Media Partner, Clive Emson Land and Property Auctioneers, the Official Auction Partner, Maidstone Borough Council, the Official Heritage Partner, Gallagher Group, the Official Logistics Partner and One Maidstone, the Official Events Partner.

In just a few days of knowing about the trail, Gullands Solicitors has stampeded in to be the first to sponsor an Elmer.

Charlie Langhorne, Director of Wild in Art, added: “By joining forces with Andersen Press and creating a blank 3D canvas inspired by the famous patchwork elephant, we just know that this big parade will have a positive impact on Maidstone’s residents and visitors, and of course Heart of Kent Hospice.”

Paul Black, PR and Brand Director of Andersen Press, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Heart of Kent Hospice and Wild in Art to bring this free, public, family art trail to Maidstone – Elmer has been a part of Andersen Press’ work for over three decades now, and we hope through this activity to really bring him to life. We can’t wait to see the colourful sculptures all over your town and help fundraise for the Hospice in the meantime!”

Organisations are invited to register their interest in a partnership or sponsoring a sculpture by emailing elmer@hokh.co.uk.


Notes to Editor

About the Hospice


Heart of Kent Hospice, established in 1991, provides compassionate end-of-life care for people facing the challenge of living with a terminal illness in Maidstone, Aylesford, Tonbridge, Malling and the surrounding areas.

The Hospice has built an excellent reputation within the local community for the quality of our care, which has been further endorsed by the Care Quality Commission who awarded us with an overall rating of ‘Outstanding’ following an inspection in February 2017.

Our vision is for everyone living with a terminal illness in our community to achieve the best quality of life.   We are committed to achieving this by enabling them to live in comfort, with independence and dignity to the end of their lives, and to support those closest to them.


Last year the Hospice cared for 1,473 patients and their families in their own homes or at our Aylesford-based Hospice. Our services cost £4million a year to run and we depend heavily on our loyal supporters, whose generous donations and fundraising activity account for £4 out of every £5 spent on our services.


For regular news and updates relating to the Hospice, please follow us on social media:





There are lots of ways people can support Heart of Kent Hospice. Find out more here.

For more information, please contact Pippa Blythe, Communications Manager, Heart of Kent Hospice on 01622 790195 or email pippa.blythe@hokh.co.uk and www.hokh.org


Wild in Art

Wild in Art is one of the leading producers of spectacular, mass-appeal public art events, which connect businesses, artists and communities through the power of creativity and innovation.

Since 2008 Wild in Art has animated cities across the world including Manchester, Sydney, Auckland, Cape Town and São Paulo, and created trails for the London 2012 Olympics, the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Historic Royal Palaces and Penguin Random House.

Together with Andersen Press they are bringing fun, family-friendly public art events featuring 1.1m tall Elmer sculptures to Britain’s towns and cities.

Elmer’s Big Art Parades, funded by corporate sponsors and raising money for charity, will see blank Elmer sculptures decorated by well-known and talented local artists, and celebrity names.

Wild in Art events have:

Enabled over £12m to be raised for charitable causes

Injected £1.8m into local creative communities

Engaged over 550,000 young people in learning programmes

Helped millions of people of all ages to experience art in non-traditional settings


The Wild in Art apps powered by Mediaworks are available to download from the App Store and Google Play.

wildinart.co.uk | @wildinart | #wildinart


Andersen Press

Andersen Press is a leading independent children’s publisher, and home to some of the biggest names in the world of children’s books, including the much-loved picture book characters Elmer the Patchwork Elephant and the Little Princess. 

Andersen Press is the publisher of many award-winning authors and illustrators including Melvin Burgess, Rebecca Stead, Susin Nielsen, Julian Clary, David Roberts, Tony Ross, David McKee, and Jeanne Willis. The company was founded in 1976 by Klaus Flugge.



Elmer remains one of the most iconic and widely read children’s book series of all time, selling over 8 million copies worldwide since it was first published by Andersen Press in 1989.

Written and illustrated by celebrated children’s author and artist David McKee, the Elmer books have been translated into more than 50 languages with toys and clothing adding to the world of Elmer the Patchwork Elephant. 

Since the first Elmer title debuted in 1989, Andersen Press has developed an internationally successful Elmer publishing programme which spans over 24 original stories and includes board books, activity books and novelty books.

A beloved classic and firm family favourite, David McKee’s iconic and brightly coloured patchwork elephant has also inspired a branded merchandise programme which has proven success at retail and is popular in millions of households across the world. 


David McKee

David McKee was born in Devon and studied at Plymouth Art College. In the early part of his career, McKee regularly drew and sold humorous drawings to magazines and newspapers such as The Times Educational Supplement, Punch and the Reader’s Digest.

David McKee has written and illustrated over 50 picture books for Andersen Press and has penned a number of children’s classics including King Rollo, Mr Benn, Not Now Bernard and Elmer the Patchwork Elephant. 

David McKee loves to paint and now lives in the South of France but regularly visits London. 

Head Office address:
Gallagher Group, Leitrim House, Little Preston
Aylesford, Kent ME20 7NS

Telephone: 01622 716543
Email: info@gallagher-group.co.uk

Aggregates address:
Gallagher Aggregates Ltd., Hermitage Quarry
Hermitage Lane, Maidstone, Kent ME16 9NT

Telephone: 01622 726262
Email: quarry@gallagher-group.co.uk