Budding photographer captures happy lockdown moments in memory of friend

Categories: Care, Community Engagement, and Featured.
Photo by Lian Cunliffe

A keen photographer has been capturing the happy moments of people in Salford throughout the lockdown, inspired by a friend who was cared for by Francis House Children’s Hospice.  

Sales manager Lian Cunliffe has been taking photographs of people on the doorsteps of their homes in memory of her best friend Sam, who died from teenage bone cancer aged 16 in 2004. Her friend’s death made her realise the importance of having positive memories during the most difficult of times. 

Lian started the Doorstep Portrait by photographing her family and friends; soon other local Salford families were asking her to take their pictures. They too wanted a keepsake of their own happy memories of time spent at together at home; marking a special birthday or even a marriage proposal.  

Lian said: “I invited people to be part of history, I thought rather than charge for the portraits I would ask for donations to Francis House, the children’s hospice that brought so much joy to my friend Sam towards the end of her life.” 

“Sam and I were best friends at school. She was a beautiful girl who lit up the room, she was confident and kind, loud and considerate, funny, and polite, loving, and strong. When she was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, she was so brave. She had a lot of pain but tried to live life to the full. 

“Francis House supported her and her family in so many ways. The staff were kind, caring and friendly. When she died, they made a sad time that little bit easier. 

“In these uncertain times, I wanted to do my bit to help as well as cheer people up. When I took the portraits, I encouraged people to wear something colourful, include their pets and have some fun whilst still isolating.  

“The reaction from people to their photographs has been overwhelmingly positive and it feels great to have captured so many happy memories.” 

Lian supplied the images digitally before posting the portraits on her Facebook page The Snapper Photography.  

“I still remember how much joy being at Francis House gave Sam towards the end of her time with us. The love of the staff continues to play over in my mind all these years later.  

“I miss her very much and nothing will ever do her justice, but hopefully these funds will help another little girl or boy who is currently struggling.” 

During the Doorstep Portrait project, Lian completed 250 photo shoots. Karen Flower of Francis House Children’s Hospice said: “Not only has Lian raised an incredible amount of money for the hospice, she has selflessly given weeks of her time making other people happy during this incredibly difficult period in all of our lives. The photographs she has taken will be cherished forever. On behalf of Francis House and the families that we care for, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Lian and to the family of Samantha for enabling her story to be told.” 

For more information visit Francis House

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