The Hares are coming! Utilize supports Havens Hospices summer art trail

Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Author: Oonagh Delaney

Havens Hospices are delighted to be working with Wild in Art to deliver an extraordinary free public art trail and cultural event in Southend-on-Sea this summer.

This exciting initiative aims to unite businesses, schools and community groups, creative artists, and the media to raise vital funds for the local hospice charity whilst making art accessible to anyone living in or visiting the town.

Inspired by the ‘Boxing Hares’ sculpture at their Little Havens Hospice, the charity has commissioned 30 hare sculptures for their ‘Hares About Town’ project. Businesses, educational establishments, groups and individuals have been invited to sponsor a sculpture, with local artists stepping up to create a unique design and personality for each Hare.

The finished hares will be displayed throughout the streets, parks, and public areas around Southend for a 10 week period from 1st July 2021. These beautifully decorated sculptures, standing at two metres high, will showcase the wealth of artistic talent in the area, whilst positively contributing to the economic, social, and cultural life of the town.

In September, each hare will then be auctioned to raise vital funds to support Havens Hospices.

Established for 36 years, Havens Hospices incorporates Fair Havens Hospice, Little Havens Hospice and The J’s Hospice. The charity provides palliative nursing and supportive care to adults and children living with complex or incurable conditions across Essex. This specialised care is provided free of charge thanks to the kindness and generosity of the community – for as long as it is needed – either in the patient’s home or in their hospices.

Utilize Plc, have been supporting Havens Hospices as one of our affiliated charities for over six years and were one of the first local businesses to sponsor a hare. We commissioned artist Mik Richardson to create the artwork for a cyber-inspired hare.

The design reflects the company’s brand colours and graffiti-themed wall – ‘Always Moving Forward’ – which is a centrepiece at our Basildon office. Utilize staff, have now decided on a name for the hare and will be volunteering at this summer’s event in Southend-on-Sea.

Above a sneak preview of part of the Utilize sponsored hare, whose 
full design and name will be revealed at the event launch in July.


Commenting on the design inspiration, Utilize Managing Director, Guy Hocking, said, “During the pandemic, technology has enabled businesses to diversify and survive, it has facilitated the delivery of vital community and health services and, crucially, has allowed us to remain in touch with friends and loved ones. Our sponsored hare pays tribute to the technologies that are the passion and lifeblood of our business.”

Utilize are also intending to bid for our sponsored hare later this year in the hope of providing a permanent home for the artwork in our newly designed state-of-the-art office space.

If you are a local business and would like to join in the fun, there are 10 hares still available for sponsorship. This is a great opportunity to create brand awareness and get your staff and clients involved in an exciting and rewarding local fundraising initiative to promote the local area, local businesses, and Havens Hospices.

For more information and to receive a sponsorship pack, please get in touch with

About the Artist

Mik Richardson is a Norfolk-based artist who has run his own art business since leaving the RAF in 2006. As well as producing over 400 murals, privately, in the community and in schools, he has also been involved in many of the public art trails across the country. He has, to date, painted 80 Wild in Art sculptures (and an additional 29 for other trails) which have raised over £300,000 for the charities involved. He also works with communities and has helped them produce over 100 smaller sculptures for the trails as well as various other projects. He recently illustrated his 1st children’s story book based around one of the Wild in Art sculptures he designed and painted. Specialising with the airbrush, he also runs Graffiti, spray art t-shirt parties and workshops.


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