Following the colourful Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade this summer, a spectacular auction on 9 September saw 51 stunning Elmer sculptures go under the hammer to find their forever homes; at the end of the auction a surprise blank Elmer was unveiled and also auctioned off.
A staggering £312,750 was raised for the Hospice when the large Elmers were auctioned by Clive Emson Land and Property Auctioneers at the Mercure Great Danes Hotel last Thursday evening. The eager and enthusiastic crowd, including some telephone and proxy bidders, also drew interest from overseas with two Elmers finding their forever homes in Spain and America.
The Hospice relies on fundraising, its lottery and income from its 14 charity shops to run its services with less than 18% of funding coming from the Government in recent years.
Ralph Steadman’s Elly-do, Elly-don’t, Elly dance raised the most, selling for an amazing £15,500. Ralph Steadman, who lives near Maidstone, is a prolific artist who in his 60-year career has produced thousands of ground-breaking and influential artworks.
Ralph Steadman said: "It was wonderful to take part in this great event. I was thrilled to see Elly-do, Elly-don't, Elly-dance fetch such a handsome sum.
"You cannot put a value on what the Hospice does for the families they help and with the proceeds from this incredible and imaginative event they will be able to help and comfort many more. It was a particular joy to see Klaus Flugge, publisher of the Elmer books and lifetime friend, there. He used to publish my children's books too."
The other Elmer which proved particularly popular with bidders was Strawberry Deuce by artist Megan Evans which sold for an incredible £13,500.
One special moment came when ‘Ele-vate, Encourage, Embrace’ by artist Karen Hiscock-King sold for £13,500 after members of the audience stood up to pledge either £500 or £1,000, to enable the Elmer to be installed at the Hospice so that patients, their families, volunteers and Hospice colleagues can enjoy it and remember this very special event.
Rachel Street, Interim Chief Executive Heart of Kent Hospice said: ‘This amazing event was a collaboration between our Hospice, Andersen Press, Wild in Art and Official Presenting Partner Westerhill Homes. We couldn’t have carried out this event without the support of our Parade Partners and Sponsors, our volunteer Trailmakers, along with so many other local businesses who gave their time, services and support. The weekend before the auction all the colourful 82 Elmer sculptures were together in one place for the Farewell Weekend, which over 4,000 people attended.
“During the nine-week free art trail 10,370 people downloaded the Parade app and a staggering 383,547 Elmer sculptures were collected, and we know that many more thousands of people enjoyed the Parade on the printed map or enjoyed just stumbling upon the Elmers while in the town centre or walking along the river path and in the parks of Maidstone. This summer the Hospice team have had so many wonderful conversations with new visitors to Maidstone, residents out exploring new and familiar areas and families that the Hospice have supported across the years; as well as being able to tell many more people about the work of our Hospice.”
Director of Income Generation at the Hospice Ann-Marie Kelly said: “Fundraising has been a real challenge for Heart of Kent Hospice during the pandemic, as many of our annual fundraising events and activities have and continue to be unable to take place. The money raised at the auction will help Heart of Kent Hospice continue to provide specialist advice, support and outstanding care. This staggering amount will pay for our team of Doctors, Nurses and Healthcare Assistants to provide personalised around-the-clock care for eight weeks in our Inpatient Unit. This special home from home environment removes the responsibility of providing care from loved ones, so they can focus on making lasting precious moments together.”
The Auction took place between 6:00pm - 10.30pm and was conducted by Official Auction Partner Clive Emson Land and Property Auctioneers.
Further information on the website www.elmermaidstone.co.uk
To see photographs taken at the spectacular auction event visit the Parade’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?vanity=elmermaidstone&set=a.918886649057318