A 51-year-old widow has been awarded the 2018 JustGiving Award for Most Creative Fundraiser of the year.
Clare Young created the ‘Work of Heart Garden’ in memory of her husband Ken after being advised to knit by her psychologist to help manage her grief and the mental health symptoms she experienced following his death.
The creation is a 4m by 4m full-size woollen garden modelled on a hospice bedroom, and has so far raised £26,000 for Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice in Cheltenham who helped care for Ken, with fundraising still ongoing.
Clare was shortlisted to the final three in the JustGiving Creative Fundraiser of the Year category earlier this year. Following a public vote where over 35,000 votes were cast, the winners were revealed at a ceremony in London with Clare being crowned ‘Creative Fundraiser of the Year’.
She was joined by the knitters who helped create the garden and representatives from the hospice as she picked up the award. Following her win she said:
“I am totally speechless. I started knitting sat at home on my sofa to manage the grief and mental health symptoms I was experiencing following the loss of Ken. Some days I could not even leave the house.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think creating a knitted garden would lead me to receiving 50,000 knitted hearts from people right across the world, to meeting and welcoming so many new and wonderful people into my life, and picking up this award.”
“There has been a whole community of people who have helped build Work of Heart Garden and I would like to dedicate this award to them. This award is for every single person who has knitted, crocheted, donated, supported, volunteered and voted for Work of Heart Garden in support of Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court.”
“Creating Work of Heart Garden has been a wonderful experience. Not only have I achieved my aim of raising awareness of the work of Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice and vital funds for their care, but I hope I have encouraged more people to talk more openly about hospice care, loss and grief. If my story helps just one person not to be afraid of going to a hospice I will be happy.”
Keith Williams, general manager, UK & Ireland at JustGiving said:
“We are delighted and honoured to announce Clare Young as the JustGiving ‘Creative Fundraiser of the Year’, for her commitment to raising awareness of the great work achieved by Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice.”
“The JustGiving Awards not only symbolises the hope, courage and determination of the human spirit, in the face of adversity. It also shows how technology is able to empower people to change the world by supporting the causes they care about.”
For more information visit Work of Heart Garden’s fundraising page