A VIP sponsors event for the Hares of Hampshire took place at Winchester Cathedral recently.

The art trail, which is run by actress Sarah Parish's charity The Murray Parish Trust, welcomed communications agency BECG, Norwegian Cruise Line and Williams Shipping and Transport as official sponsors at a VIP launch event.

Hosted by Sarah Parish, the guests were told more about the project and how to get involved as well as having the opportunity to understand how businesses and the charity sector can have a positive effect on communities.

The event was also attended by Vivian Achwal, Mayor of Winchester, and her husband Dr Sudhaker Achwal.

The art trail will last for ten weeks from June 16 to September 4 2022 and the hares will be installed across Winchester and Southampton's streets, parks and public spaces.

Each hare will be sponsored by a business and individually designed by local artists, showcasing artistic talent the county has to offer while contributing to the economic, cultural and social life of the area.

Baby hare sculptures, leverets, will be available to all schools and youth groups across Hampshire as part of The Little Leverets Learning Programme. 

Participating organisations will be able to design their own leveret to be displayed across the cities alongside the larger hares.

Residents and visitors will be able to hop on the trail of discovery to find the hares using an interactive app.

The app will map out the route allowing everyone to explore some of Winchester’s famous landmarks including Winchester Cathedral, The Great Hall, Abbey Grounds, River Park and Southampton’s Guildhall Square, QE2 Mile and Cultural Quarter.

As people visit each uniquely decorated hare or leveret, the app will allow users to receive special offers or discounts from the sponsor as well as display information about the artist, facts about the hare and its location.

The Hares of Hampshire event hopes to raise awareness and funds for local charity, The Murray Parish Trust which was founded in 2014 by actors Sarah Parish and James Murray in memory of their late daughter who died in 2009 due to a congenital heart condition. 

The charity has raised millions of pounds towards facilities and equipment for critically ill or injured children at University Hospital Southampton.
Sarah Parish said that after her daughter died: “I got on my bike and went for a cycle to try and clear my head and in a nearby field I spotted a young hare, a leveret. 

“As we stood staring at each other I was filled with the most euphoric happiness, suddenly everything that had happened in the last 12 months slotted into place.
 “New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings, Ella-Jayne would live on through the charity we founded in her memory, The Murray Parish Trust.” 

James Murray, said: “It was fantastic to welcome local businesses and leaders to our first in person event to showcase the campaign. We’re delighted to have BECG, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Williams Shipping as partners for the campaign.
“We can’t wait to see a drove of hare sculptures bringing new life and optimism to the city’s streets in Summer 2022.”