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History Highlights Podcasts17 June 2021

Leeds Castle’s Elmer the Elephants Parade into Maidstone

Two Leeds Castle ‘Elmer the Elephant’ sculptures have been unveiled in Maidstone this morning, as part of ‘Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade’ in support of Heart of Kent Hospice, based on the beloved books by David McKee.

For the next nine weeks, Elmer and his friends will be marching on to the streets of Maidstone in the town’s first ever public art trail. Ipswich based community artist, speed painter and tutor Lois Cordelia has created Leeds Castle’s ‘Heart of the Garden’ elephant.

Lois said:

“I shall never forget the time I spent walking around Leeds Castle grounds, watching the peacocks and black swans, seeing the golden daffodils dancing in the breeze. With my mind still full of the stunning sights and sounds, I launched straight into painting my design, using a big brush and vibrant colours. My design celebrates the exquisite beauty of Leeds Castle. I used palette knives to create richly textured, partly iridescent depictions of the Castle from various angles, by day and by night.”

The ‘Heart of the Garden’ Elmer will be outside the Kent History and Library Centre in Maidstone, and it is joined by a ‘learning herd’ decorated by children from local schools which can be found within the library. The library in Maidstone will be offering free craft and learning packs, including a fantastic elephant quiz, and will be running competitions with the chance to win tickets to Leeds Castle! Online story times can also be found on Maidstone Libraries Facebook page.

Helen Bonser-Wilton, Leeds Castle CEO said:

“Leeds Castle is delighted to be sponsoring two Elmer the elephants and supporting Heart of Kent Hospice in this fantastic initiative, which will be a wonderful chance for our local community to come together and have some much needed family fun! The Leeds Castle Foundation has a long history of working with Heart of Kent Hospice to raise much needed income to help support the people of Kent in need of their services and so we are proud to be involved in Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade.”

The second Elmer is sponsored by RA Venues, Leeds Castle’s catering partner and can be found at the Castle’s main entrance. Entitled ‘We’ll get there together’ and designed by artist Jenna Wass, the design features the famous spiralling Yew maze.

Steve Chandler, MD of RA Venues said:

“We are delighted to be supporting this incredible charity and are proud of our close partnership with Leeds Castle.”

As part of this event, there are three fully accessible Elmer trails around Maidstone, each reflecting the town’s history, economic heart and areas of natural beauty. Copies of a beautifully hand-illustrated map can be picked up at key town centre locations across Maidstone and in the Leeds Castle shop at the main entrance.

To find out the locations of each Elmer and the herds of small Elmers, download the Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade app from the App Store or Google Play for FREE. Each Elmer will have a unique app code. Once you tap the code into your mobile device, it will reveal some exciting rewards for you to download.

Scan the Leeds Castle Elmer elephants and you could enjoy discounts on delicious locally made ice-cream and the chance to win tickets to Leeds Castle, valid for a whole year!
For more information visit Don’t forget to tag us in your photos using #leedscastle and #elmermaidstone.