The Murray Parish Trust’s giant hares in Winchester

WINTONIANS have probably been wondering why a giant hare has been popping up across the city.

Residents took to social media to share photos of the sculpture, which popped up at different locations over the past few weeks.

It has now been revealed that the hare in question is just one of 30 that will be placed in the city throughout the summer of 2022.

This is thought to be one of the largest outdoor art installations that Winchester has ever seen.

Hares of Hampshire, a Wild in Art event by The Murray Parish Trust, is launching the public trail which will see the brightly painted statues appear from Monday June 16 until Sunday September 4 2022.

Each giant sculpture will be sponsored by a business and individually designed by local artists, showcasing the wealth of talent the county has to offer.

Sarah Parish, actor and co-founder of the trust, said: “On May 3 2009, the day that would have marked Ella-Jayne’s first birthday, I was filled with a grief that I could not shake. 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.

“I got off my bike, climbed over the fence and walked slowly towards it. It didn’t move, just calmly locked its gaze on me. 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.”

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

Sarah Davis, Winchester BID district manager said: “This spectacular trail is an exciting addition to the wide range of festivals and events held annually in Winchester. It will deliver significant economic, social and cultural impacts to the city whilst benefiting local businesses.

“We look forward to seeing local artists engaging in the design process; more visitors coming to our beautiful city and a boost of civic pride for local residents. We are delighted to be able to support this exciting new initiative.”