With the launch of St Catherine’s Hospice HeART to Heart community art trail this week, an artist and a business sponsor share why they chose to get involved with the local charity’s public art trail.
Cowfold Ladies are a group of friends who got together to utilise their collective, creative skills to design Fluttering Free as part of St Catherine’s HeART to Heart trail. One of them, Caroline Collins, is also a nurse at St Catherine’s caring for local people on the wards. Here she tells us more about the group’s involvement in HeART to Heart.
“Us Cowfold Ladies have lived in the same village for many years. Our children have grown up together and over the years we’ve supported each other through many of life’s trials and tribulations. We’re good friends and the heart trail has given us a great excuse to spend a lot of time together!
When St Catherine’s first announced their plans for an art trail, I immediately thought of my three friends, Sarah Ritchings, Sarah Goodyer and Sally Kember. My children were at primary school with their children and the three of them would create the best theatrical scenery and costumes for the school’s yearly productions. So remembering their creative skills and talents, my hope was that these three talented ladies would be willing to take on the HeART to Heart challenge.
Initially, I hadn’t reckoned on being part of the team as I’m not known for my artistic talents! However, I like to write occasionally, so they invited me to write a poem which ribbons around the heart. It’s been a pleasure to be involved. And I even got my mum involved in the end too! She housed our heart in her garage while it was being created which meant having to accommodate a rowdy group of women from time to time! She also created her own butterflies as part of our heart and loved helping us do that. In fact, we’ve both enjoyed the process of decorating the heart and it’s had unexpected benefits. Having lost my Dad only a few weeks ago, Mum and I have both found being creative comforting and therapeutic.”
Fluttering Free was handpicked for sponsorship by Stooks at Newbridge Nurseries. They picked the heart in memory of a much loved colleague who was cared for by St Catherine’s. Caroline was amongst the team of nurses who cared for their colleague making their connection to Fluttering Free even more special. She and the other Cowfold Ladies recently met with Denise who works at Stooks. This gave Caroline and Denise a unique chance to share memories of a special lady who they both felt privileged to have met.
Caroline adds, “It was really moving to hear how our heart creation has such deep meaning for the people at Stooks. I and the other Cowfold Ladies enjoyed hearing more from Denise about her and her colleagues’ reason for choosing Fluttering Free to represent their support for St Catherine’s heart trail. We were touched and honoured that they entrusted us with such a responsibility. And knowing their personal connection to the hospice meant we were even more enthused to create the most beautiful heart we could. As a nurse it’s been a privilege to take part in such a beautiful project for the hospice, and to combine the care I give local people with raising funds so we can provide even more care to people in the future.
Our heart means a lot to all of us CowFold Ladies, and for me the words of the poem we’ve used on it epitomise what we aim to do for people at the hospice. To be a safety net which cares, supports and encourages them without confining or limiting their individuality.”
Denise from Stooks said: “We’re thrilled to be working with St Catherine’s Hospice as part of their HeART to Heart trail. And it’s a brilliant way for us to help promote the fantastic work that they do within our community. What better way to raise awareness of their work than to have an art trail that’s designed to bring the community together?
In December 2017, we lost one of our dear colleagues. She was cared for by the wonderful team at St Catherine’s, who offered care and support not only to her, but to all of her family and friends too.
We wanted to say thank you to the hospice for everything they did, and the heart trail gave us the perfect way to do this, and to help provide funds for their vital work.
Our heart features butterflies to signify freedom and includes a beautiful poem written by Caroline, drawing on her experiences providing hospice care for people in our community. Alongside her, her friends are all talented artists and the heart is a splendour to behold. We’re really pleased with it! And we hope lots of you will come and visit us at Stooks to see the beauty of Fluttering Free for yourself.”
To find out more about St Catherine’s HeART to Heart trail, please visit www.stch.org.uk/hearttoheart or follow @hearttrailuk on social media.
Fluttering Free is one of 26 hearts on a public trail, headline sponsored by Thakeham.The trail began its ten week run on Thursday 4 July. See if you can find all the hearts across Crawley, Horsham, East Grinstead and Reigate this summer!