"Just an ordinary boy with an extraordinary amount of courage..."
The story of the Kite, where it came from and why it is used as the symbol of Edward's Trust
The symbol of the Kite has been used as the logo for Edward’s Trust since the charities conception 30 years ago. Edward’s Trust was founded by Peter and Hilary Dent in memory of their son, Edward, who died of cancer when he was just 7 years old. Edward’s death not only inspired the foundation of Edward’s Trust, with his name living on as a registered charity, but his memory also lives on in the symbol of the Kite. The Kite was a drawing that was made by Edward on pink paper, and below Edward’s father Peter Dent talks about just how symbolic the Kite is and why it was chosen as the symbol of Edward’s Trust:
“According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, a symbol is something that stands for something else, especially a material object representing something abstract. Edward’s Kite is such a material object. It has three significant elements; colour, flight and face. Colour: Edward chose yellow and green for the tail of the kite. Yellow (his favourite colour) is an optimistic and cheerful colour. Green is symbolic of balance and growth. The one merges into the other on the spectrum and combined, they often are seen as representing healing at a mental, emotional and/or physical level.
Flight: The kite can be imagined to be flying high. There is a freedom of spirit in the drawing that is expressed clearly in the song form Mary Poppins:
“Let’s go fly a kite, up to the highest height, let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring, Up through the atmosphere, up where the air is clear, oh let’s go fly a kite!”
The song is used in the film to symbolise the importance of family – the image of a kite used to bring a family back together. For families who come to Edward’s Trust, their loss means the family will never come back together as it was before. But, ‘where the air is clear’, we hope there will be a reunion – a way to live our lives with grief in our hearts.
Face: Even though the kite is high in the sky, the face shows no fear. It is an innocent childlike happiness. But the smile is everybody’s smile, not just a child’s smile but an adult’s smile to the world. More than that, it symbolises trust in a goodness of things. A belief that despite all, even a child has an inner strength and courage that only shows itself when faced with the ultimate challenge of life and death. “True courage is like a kite; a contrary wind raises it higher” John Petit-Senn). Whether that contrary wind comes through illness, violence, accident or self-harm, for those who are left with loss, the kite can symbolise the ‘true courage’ of grief.
Edward’s kite, therefore, through its colours, its face and its flight, symbolises a courageous healing journey across space and time for a young child, for an older child, for a parent or for a grandparent. Edward’s Kite represents to everyone at Edward’s Trust a symbol of hope, not that the pain of loss will disappear but that there is a way of living with loss. It is unique to each individual, it is not a formula, it is not a process, it is not a magic potion nor is it easy or pain-free.”