HARES are appearing all over Cirencester as the town gets ready for a colourful and community-driven festival beginning only next month.

The Cirencester March Hare Festival 2014 is only one month away and businesses, schools and communities are busy transforming their newest arrivals.

The town currently has one hare clearly on display in Cirencester's only shopping mall, Bishops Walk, which has already received a lot of attention.

Students at Kingshill School are already busy decorating their newest delivery with pupils even opting to stay after school to get involved in the project.

The colourful artwork for the hare was designed by Year 7 pupil Holly Elphick after she won an in-school competition.

Staff at Cotswold Airport have already finished their hare, which now sits proudly across from their Gromit statue in the AV8 restaurant.

Hicarus Hare, with his huge white wings and gold paint, is settling in to his new home next to companion Grosmos, one of the Gromits the Kemble-based airfield purchased at Bristol auction.

With smaller hare statues also available, the Twelve Bells recently welcomed Harebelle into the pub, who is more the size of a real hare compared to the towering five foot statues taken in by Cotswold Airport and Kingshill School.

The Hare Festival is partnered with the Cirencester Community Development Trust and all funds raised will go towards helping improve the lives of local people, in particular children and vulnerable adults.

This will be done through the Green Hare project which aims to improve nature areas and create a network of wild walkways across town. It will also provide learning opportunities for children and training and support for vulnerable adults.

Chairman of the Cirencester Community Development Trust Andy Lichnowski said he was delighted by the enthusiastic response the festival has received from everyone in town.

“I pay tribute to our hard working organisers as it promises to be a fascinating festival creatively engaging across the community and encouraging more visitors and tourists to visit our beautiful town,” he said.

Festival organiser Florence Beetlestone said the aim was to raise over £50,000 for the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to enable them to set up a new permanent walkway around the River Churn.

“As the festival runs for six months it gives everyone the chance to join in and make it a major tourist attraction.”

The hares are available to sponsor at £1,200 each for businesses or for groups who wish to club together, £4,000 for premium hares aimed at corporate or principle sponsors and £200 for smaller, life-size hare models, suitable for smaller businesses. For more information, or to sponsor a hare call 01285 655646 or visit cirencesterharefestival.org.uk