THE Cirencester March Hare Festival was given a boost on Friday by a distinguished line-up of speakers at a pre-launch sponsors party.

The party was held at The Mansion, Cirencester Park, courtesy of Lord Bathurst.

Among the speakers on the night were chairman of the Cirencester Community Development Trust Andy Lichnowski, the event’s patron Dame Janet Trotter, Roger Mortlock of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, Lord Bathurst and Prof Chris Gaskell, principal of the Royal Agricultural University.

Festival organiser Florence Beetlestone said she was delighted with the turn-out.

“It was wonderful to see the warmth and enthusiasm for the project shown by all those present. It was a lovely evening with a chance for myself and the festival team to meet socially with all our sponsors,” she said.

“All our sponsors were simply buzzing with ideas.

"There is only a very limited time for any new sponsors to get on board and join the hare trail. If you want to be a part of this, join us now.”

Currently the event has 30 sponsors, including The Kings Head Hotel and estate agents Cain and Fuller which both signed up on the night.

When the sculpture trail kicks off on March 29, people will be able to visit dozens of hares of all shapes, sizes and colours around Cirencester and the surrounding area. A trail map will be available so explorers can track down all the hares and have their picture taken with each one. Organisers will judge those photos they receive and award a prize to their favourite.

Festival organiser Florence Beetlestone went on to say that the festival would provide a wonderful opportunity for the people of Cirencester to celebrate their town. The hares will be auctioned later in the year with money going to charity.

“We aim to raise over £50,000 for the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to enable them to set up a permanent new walkway around the River Churn, so everyone benefits,” Florence added.

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

Visit for more information or to sponsor a hare call 01285 655646.