Human Medicine:

Hares About Town

Published: 23rd July 2021

Pathology First Sponsors Stella, The Disco Hare

Pathology First is the proud sponsor of Stella the Disco Hare as part of the spectacular public art event called Hares About Town, held in aid of The Havens Hospices. 30 Hares are currently on display around Southend-on-Sea and will be there for the duration of the summer.  Every Hare has been individually designed by an artist and forms a free, fun, family friendly trail for local people to explore and enjoy.

The event brings together local businesses, schools and community groups. At the end of the 10 week display and trail, the Hares will be auctioned to raise funds for Havens Hospices.

We got involved because we wish to support the Havens Hospices charity and the important work they do. Pathology First has been working with the Havens Group since the 1980’s when we first established their pathology service, processing the samples from both the adult and then paediatric hospices and we are proud to continue to be their pathology service provider today.

In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, and due to vital infection control measures, we had to move our busiest phlebotomy clinic away from Southend Hospital to a new location and the team at Fair Havens Hospice kindly hosted our clinic for several months. Our patients fed back they were very happy with the new venue and our team really enjoyed working there. Working with Fair Havens Hospice made a challenging period a lot easier and helped us keep a very important service available and accessible for the patients who rely on it.

Graeme Cleland, General Manager of Pathology First
Special Stars and a Hidden Forget-me-not  

The story behind Stella and how she represents love, hope and life

Stella is the creation of specialist mosaic artist, Natalie Guy. She explains more about her design and creation of this very special Hare:

Stella the Hare is incredibly important to me. I loved creating her and worked on her almost constantly for eight weeks. Her design, the stars and the mirrors, represent the love, hope and light people can feel when under the care of, or being supported by, the wonderful hospice team at Havens. It can be one of the most difficult times people will experience and one of great sadness but I hope Stella can represent some of the light and love provided. Hospices are incredible places filled with very caring, compassionate and amazing people who help others through the toughest times and beyond.

As for Stella, her back is covered in stars which children can count whilst others might like to reflect and consider what they could signify. I believe stars can represent many different things depending on the person. There is a forget-me-not, the flower of remembrance, hidden somewhere on Stella for people to find. I would also like to point out her big, blue mosaic eyes with the long, long eyelashes. I think they make her personality come alive and were not easily created when working with grout and mirrors.

I used to live in Essex and ran an art workshop within a Little Havens specialist session for bereaved children. We decorated pots and picture frames for loved ones with mosaic designs and to this day, I will never forget those children and the lovely team supporting them. That is why I leapt at the chance to create Stella. It is great she is sponsored by Pathology First who in turn help thousands of patients and clinicians from right across the region.

Stella can be found outside Victoria Gateway.

Our very own Volunt-Hare

Charlie Jude, Immunology Team Manager at Pathology First is a Volunt-Hare, a volunteer who engages trail-followers, helping them find the hares and download the app. She also ensures the sculptures are clean and well maintained and acts as an Ambassador for the project and the Charity.
She completed her first shift during the opening weekend of the event.
Charlie explains:

Charlie with Stella

I found an advert on Facebook and applied for the role. I’m from Southend and really wanted to get involved in this amazing project. So, following a bit of training and wearing my Hares About Town shirt and cap, I was assigned a zone and started my first shift on the Seafront. People have a lot of questions and people are especially interested as to why hares were chosen.

There are bronze statues of hares outside one of the Havens hospices. They were donated by a family following the care one of their children received at the hospice. The child’s favourite book featured hares: “Guess How Much I Love You.” It is a very special children’s book written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram and features a lovely story about a family of Hares

Activities for children

Have you found Stella? If so, congratulations.

We think she is rather special and was created to bring light, love and laughter into the lives of those who look at her.

  1. How many stars does Stella have on her back?
  2. Have you found her secret forget-me-not?
  3. What do stars mean to you? What do you think of when you see a star?

Stella is sponsored by Pathology First, the pathology service provider to 750,000 patients in the South of Essex

For Children aged 7 – 11 years old

Why not download our Superlab fun comic* and learn more about the wonders of biomedical science and what goes on in laboratories.

For children 6 years and under – Decorate a Star  

Why not create and decorate your own a star? 

Our artist, Natalie Guy, has the following suggestions: 

  • How about make your own mosaic from bits of newspaper or kitchen foil. Simply stick in place and decorate your star.
  • You can always use different coloured paper and paint or even buttons, torn up pieces of card or leftover wrapping paper.

You can create and origami star or a star from junk cardboard.

*We would like to thank the Institute of Biomedical Scientists for sharing their SUPERLAB comic.

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