Arts Derbyshire


Businesses urged to give the gift of Hope to families facing uncertain futures to record last messages

Businesses are being urged to give families the gift of ‘Hope’ in a new charity partnership spearheaded by a leading Derby PR agency.

The me&dee charity has launched a new sponsorship scheme allowing businesses to give families ‘Hope’ – a special keepsake elephant with a voice recorder in the zip-up pouch contained in its ear, which has been used by hundreds of families to record poignant last messages of loved ones, often children.

The device allows families with a potentially life-limiting diagnosis to record the voice of a loved one, providing huge comfort in times of bereavement. The elephant has even been used to record the voice of a very ill boy’s snoring, which his mum listened to after he had sadly passed away.

Now the charity is urging businesses to lend support with a 12-month sponsorship of the adorable elephant, with the offer of one Hope embroidered with a business’s logo as the ideal friendly companion around the office.

The first business to offer sponsorship of Hope is Derby-based Penguin PR.

Maria Hanson MBE said: “In times of bereavement, having Hope the elephant can be enormously comforting to families.

“Hope has been so popular with our families since we first started giving her five years ago. Families started putting little notes in her ears which gave me the idea that we could include a voice recorder. It was prompted by one of the people we help who said what they dreaded most was that they would forget how their loved one’s voice or laugh sounded.

“Since then providing Hope has turned into one of the most powerful things we can do for people. We have had family members recording their heartbeat into Hope’s voice recorder so that if the worst happens, that comforting record of the person who has left us can live on.

“We give Hope too all of our families who are facing short, uncertain or challenging futures. We recently lost a little boy at Burton Hospital. His mum wanted to record his snoring, so that she can hug Hope and listen to him snoring.

“We are now working closely with families at Royal Derby and Burton hospitals who really appreciate being given a Hope keepsake when they are going through tough times together. She is much, much more than a cuddly toy. She helps families keep memories alive, and you can’t put a price on that. And if you get businesses to the office, you might be able to talk about ‘the elephant in the room’!”

Simon Burch, director of Penguin PR, said: “We love working with me&dee and we are delighted to sponsor this worthwhile charity with our sponsorship of Hope. She looks very smart with her Penguin PR logo emblazoned on the front and it’s good to think we are helping families by providing another 12 Hopes through a year’s sponsorship scheme.

“It would be great to see other companies following suit and ordering their own branded ‘Hopes’ too – anyone’s company logo would look great!

“We know how much it means to Maria and her charity to know they can provide comfort to families too.”

Gifting a Hope for 12 months with the option of a specially branded keepsake with your company logo costs £35 a month. See for more information.

Submit your news to Arts Derbyshire

Submit your news items to or fill out this news submission form.

You can also register as a member to list your arts business and events in our directory.


Related news posts

Sign up to our newsletter

Find out what’s on with the Arts Derbyshire newsletter.

Artists, creatives, cultural providers, arts and health specialists – Sign up for one of our professional mailing lists.