With the country beginning to re-open with Covid rules eased, Southend and its residents are beginning to throw their backing behind an event which will bring plenty of fun to our seafront this summer.

Hares About Town, a spectacular free art event, will be hopping onto the streets of Southend from July 1 until September 12.

A total of 30 hare sculptures, each individually designed by an artist and sponsored by a business, will form a trail of discovery for the community to enjoy, with the hares installed along the seafront and other locations such as the High Street and Priory Park.

Held in partnership with Wild in Art, the event is set to raise much-needed funds for Havens Hospices and make its return after last being held in 2019.

Louise Gloyne, head of philanthropy, grants and partnerships at Havens, revealed the concept of Hares About Town only came to fruition after a donation to the charity.

She said: “Little Havens were kindly donated two giant bronze sculptures of boxing hares and they now sit in the hospice gardens for everyone to appreciate.

“They are 7ft tall and were donated by Joan Hurst, who sadly lost her sister-in-law Mary.

“Joan chose artist Sophie Ryder’s boxing hare sculptures as a memorial as Mary’s favourite story as a child was the enchanting tale of two hares who playfully try to measure their love for one another - with the ultimate declaration ‘I love you to the moon and back’.

Harequarters - a hare at the Royals Shopping Centre

Harequarters - a hare at the Royals Shopping Centre

“Little Havens was chosen as a fitting site for the statue as it combined personal memories of a much-loved relative, a peaceful and secure woodland setting, and a special place where it could be seen and enjoyed by the families who stay here.

“We are so thrilled that the community of Southend has embraced this exciting event. The hares are definitely coming to town.”

The animals, which are currently situated at the harequarters at the Royals Shopping Centre and will be attached to concrete plinths before being moved to their locations, have been designed by a number of local artists.

Television personality Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen has also got involved with the project and the sculptures will be made available to buy at an auction held at Garon Park’s the Boundary in September.

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It is hoped the auction will raise thousands of pounds for Havens and it will be a welcome boost after the global pandemic resulted in numerous fundraisers having to be postponed over the course of the last 12 months.

With the event drawing closer, Charlie Langhorne cannot wait for the hares to brighten our seaside town.

The Wild in Art co-founder and managing director said: “We passionately champion the importance of art for everybody and the social, cultural and educational benefits which it provides.

“Our events are designed to bring the enjoyment of public art to everyone.

“Hares About Town will give everyone a reason to smile and we look forward to seeing everyone out on the streets once again, walking, running and cycling the trail and discovering all the wonderfully painted hares.”