Published: 08:00, 27 February 2018
| Updated: 08:24, 27 February 2018
A community sculpture trail that will draw on the inspiration of artists, school children, businesses and voluntary groups has been officially launched.
The Snowdogs Discover Ashford campaign will see a trail of the charming canines created at locations across the borough to raise the profile of the area and to raise money for charity.
Similar schemes have already been seen with the Lambanana sculptures in Liverpool and the Snowdogs by the Seaside in Brighton, and later this year Ashford will be transformed by at least 25 giant dogs, and many smaller ones too.
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It is inspired by the snow dog which features in the illustrated novels by Raymond Briggs which have also been adapted into television programmes.
Businesses will contribute £5,000 towards the cost of each plinth, and the aim is to boost the arts and civic pride in Ashford during and after the 10-week display.
The project’s artist manager Bec Britain wants plenty of artists to get involved, and said the scheme has already enjoyed success elsewhere in the country.
She said: “I’m personally really excited. It has a huge appeal for a wide range of audiences, and it becomes bigger and bigger so that it is a real talking point.
“The scheme made lots of money for a hospice in Brighton, so everyone can relate to that.”
All proceeds for the scheme will be going to the Pilgrims Hospice, and the exhibition will also help raise awareness of end of life care and the grieving process.
Video: Snowdogs on their way to Ashford
The charity’s chief executive Cate Russell said: “The Snowdogs trail will be a wonderful celebration of Ashford life, so we are really pleased to be involved.
“This is a vital part of our outreach to connect with the community. We work and support one in four families across east Kent.
“Many children feel that quite often they are sent to school so that parents can have time to grieve and have adult conversations, but children know what’s happening.
“So this is also an opportunity to have those conversations, and allow teachers to discuss the subject of end of life care in a creative and fun way.”
Among the businesses supporting the scheme so far is Kingsfords Solicitors, and senior partner John Edmonds said the firm was involved in the fundraising for Pilgrims Hospices after colleague Richard Flower was diagnosed with terminal cancer in the 1990s.
Richard was a dedicated fundraiser for the charity, which helped raise the funds for the hospice off the A20 Hythe Road.
Ashford Borough Council chief executive Tracey Kerly is hoping the scheme will kick start interest in the town centre in the run up to Christmas later this year.
She hopes it will also encourage artists to showcase their creative talents for the whole community to enjoy, while it will also be a trail for children to explore or for people to enjoy while exercising.
She said: "It's a lovely project for everybody, for the community, retailers, schools and for artists. It is a fantastic opportunity to have art by local people in the town, providing beautiful creations.”
Now organisers from Wild in Art are appealing for artists and creative minded residents to submit their designs for the Snowdogs. For more information visit: www.ashfordsnowdogs.co.uk.
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