A sculpture in this summer’s public art trail around Worcester will serve as a tribute to a much-loved family man who loved elephants.

Worcester’s Big Parade will feature an elephant which celebrates the life of local Worcestershire businessman Keith Webb, whose family say would have been thrilled to see his favourite animal parading through the city. Mr Webb was cared for by St Richard’s Hospice, the charity beneficiary of the art trail, before he died in July 2020.

“Those who knew Keith would testify to his larger-than-life personality and support to those who needed a leg-up in life. He was always there for others and a caring stepdad for 29 years – the end came way too fast and too hard for our family,” explained stepdaughter Becks Cansdale.

“During his illness, the team at St Richard’s Hospice took time to listen and understand the man that he was; an individual, a successful businessman, a knowledgeable historian, a young football star, a head boy, a husband and a father. They chatted to him about all he had achieved and really invested in him as a person.”

Mr Webb’s son, Edward, added: “For Dad’s 70th birthday we surprised him with a trip to South Africa to see the elephants he so loved, so it seemed a fitting tribute for us to sponsor one for St Richard’s this summer. When we walk the trail as a family in July, a year after we lost him, we’ll know that Dad will be there with us.”

A Wild in Art event, being brought to the city by St Richard’s Hospice, elephants will march into Worcester on 12 July before departing again on 5 September. The project builds on the hugely successful Worcester Stands Tall giraffe trail in 2018, which saw giraffe sculptures displayed across the city before raising £210,000 for the Worcestershire hospice at auction

Sara Matthews, Business Development Manager for St Richard’s, said: “Worcester’s Big Parade is our way of saying thank you to our amazing local community by helping create lasting memories for years to come.  Of course, it’s also an opportunity to fundraise for the hospice’s future and the care that we provide to patients like Keith and their loved ones.

“When we heard about Keith’s love of elephants it felt like there was no more fitting a tribute to such a special man, who left such a big impression on so many. We’re hugely grateful to the whole family for supporting our care, including Becks who also ran her first ever marathon for us at the end of last year raising more than £6,000 in the process!

“With more than three quarters of our funding coming from our incredible supporters, we couldn’t do what we do without such wonderful support in the community.”

Worcester’s Big Parade is supported by partners Crowngate, Worcester City Council, Worcester Business Improvement District (BID), DRPG, West Midland Safari Park the Worcester News and BBC Hereford & Worcester.

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