Widow whose husband was cared for by Sue Ryder hospice creates showstopper garden of knitted flowers in his memory

Categories: Community Engagement.

Clare Young, 50, from Gloucester, supported by a team of friends, crafters and community groups has started work on the full-size show garden installation for the RHS Malvern Spring Festival called the ‘Work of Heart’ garden.

The full-size 4 x 4m show garden will be lovingly made from thousands of knitted and crochet creations, raising funds and awareness for hospice care and Leckhampton Court in Gloucestershire.

After being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and anxiety following Ken’s death, Clare was encouraged to pick up knitting by her therapist as a way to help manage her symptoms.

Clare said: “My husband Ken died at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice in August 2015 at the age of 47. After Ken died, I found life very difficult. I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety and my clinical psychologist suggested knitting as a way to help my symptoms.

“I’ve always tried to turn all negatives into positives since Ken died, so I picked up my knitting needles. I started by creating knitted Christmas decorations and Easter Bunnies which raised £1,300 for the hospice where Ken was looked after. This was followed by installing a yarn bombed message of thanks in the hospice grounds in the May 2017 with the help of a group of friends and knitters. This led to an invitation for us to do something really special at RHS Malvern Spring Festival.”

The invitation was from Clare’s friend Suzy Hillier, Head of Commercial at Three Counties Showground, which is home to the RHS Malvern Spring Festival, when Clare and Suzy came up with the idea of knitting a garden for RHS Malvern at Clare’s 50th birthday party.

The incredible installation at the festival will include a hospice bedroom overgrown with knitted plants known for their healing properties. It will feature lavender, used by complementary therapists in reflexology treatment for patients at the hospice, and rosemary as ‘rosemary for remembrance’ was a saying Lady Ryder, the founder of the Sue Ryder charity, used often.

As part of the Work of Heart Garden, 10,000 ‘Works of Heart’ – small hand-knitted or crocheted hearts – are being created.

 The heart creation idea has ‘wool-balled’ with a number of community groups, organisations and knitters taking part.

Sue Ryder is calling all keen knitters to contribute a knitted or crochet heart to the garden and is offering free downloadable patterns. It is also encouraging people to share their heart creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, tagging the charity and using the hashtag #WorkofHeartGarden.

Elise Hoadley, Hospice Director at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, said: “Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice is a place of peace and tranquillity where people living with conditions like cancer, heart disease, lung failure and neurological conditions can come to receive expert specialist care so they can live the fullest lives possible for as long as possible.

“I know Clare’s creation will capture and share this peace and tranquillity with the aim of generating interest, inspiration and positivity about hospice care. We’d like to encourage as many people as possible to support Clare’s campaign to create 10,000 hearts for the knitted garden, and to come along and see the knitted garden itself at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival in May.”

The installation will be in display at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival, which is taking place at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern from 10-13 May 2018.

For more information visit the Sue Ryder website

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