Fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Society

I was recently asked by the Alzheimer’s Society to get involved in a fund-raising activity for Christmas.  The Community Fundraiser for the charity Leah Holmes, who is responsible for the areas of North Yorkshire, Hull and East Riding told me about a special evening of festivities.  This is taking place for the Alzheimer’s Society at Southwark Cathedral in London on Wednesday 15th December at 7:45 p.m.  Their national carol concert was going to be attended by up to 500 people in the cathedral but with the recent news of the new Covid variant, it is one of the many “in-person” events that sadly have to be cancelled. It will therefore be available online only and further details are on the Alzheimer’s Society’s website.

Last year the charity raised £3,400 from their raffle, which will take place again this year so I very much hope that the artwork I am donating will also help add to the funds.  Let me tell you something about the background to the artwork and my ideas for this rather abstract scene.

In 2015 when I was 14 years old I started collecting discarded scratch cards as I was attracted by their bright, shining colours.  I took them home, cleaned them and stored them by colour in different containers.  I have always disliked litter and I noticed how many could be found on the streets in some of the towns and cities I visited.  As I have enjoyed making mosaics from a young age, I had an idea of tearing some of the most appealing patterned parts from the printed scratch cards and making my own mosaic-style designs.  The collage below was my very first one using found scratch cards and was based on my volunteer work at the time in the National Trust site of Fountains Abbey near Ripon:

Abbey Ruins

It wasn’t long until I was creating much more detailed collages and in 2016 I made my first Christmas card which I had printed for sale in local shops:

Colourful Christmas Wishes

The robin was borrowed at the time from one of my nature designs.

Woodland Walk

When I was 15 and doing my GCSE in art, I chose an exam question that involved using recycled materials and with encouragement from my high school teacher, I later had my very first display of artwork in the school hall.  This was followed soon afterwards by an exhibition with the National Trust in two of their sites:  Brimham Rocks Visitor Centre and Fountains Hall at Fountains Abbey, near Ripon in North Yorkshire.  The response to my artwork was very encouraging and it all started from there. 

Using my camera for ideas and to give a record of places visited, I began working on a much larger scale and in more detail.  Here are two cathedrals that I collaged for exhibitions in Ripon and Durham.  I used hole-punched pieces of recycled scratch cards for Ripon Cathedral and finely cut strips for Durham Cathedral.  People were amazed as they said from a distance, my art looked like oil paintings.

Ripon Cathedral
Durham Cathedral

There hasn’t been an opportunity for me to visit and photograph Southwark Cathedral in London so I was unable to work in such a detailed way as I have done for Ripon and Durham.  However, I looked on the internet and in the timescale I was given to come up with ideas, I made good use of some string to make an outline of the cathedral over the top of my previous Colourful Christmas Wishes collage.  Then by applying some glitter varnish, it gave Southwark Cathedral a Christmas feel and I wanted the building to remain transparent so that the colours from the previous Christmas decorations design could shine through as if colourful stained glass windows.

Presenting my artwork to Leah Holmes for the fundraising event at Southwark Cathedral

I like to think that I can support the Alzheimer’s Society as I know how difficult it is to live with a person who has dementia.  My grandmother Joan has this debilitating disease and in the time since I created this collage of her below, her condition has become steadily worse.  I hope that the evening is a success and I wish everyone a very happy Christmas.


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