Clare Young, 50, from Gloucester, supported by a team of friends, crafters and community groups, has started work on a full-size show garden installation for the RHS Malvern Spring Festival called the ‘Work of Heart’ garden.
The knitted garden is being created in memory of her husband to help raise £50,000 for the hospice charity which helped care for him and to aid in her battle with anxiety and depression since his death.
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. Clare also wanted to find a special way to mark what would’ve been Ken’s 50th birthday in 2018 and soon the £50,000 fundraising target to thank Sue Ryder and pay tribute to the poignant occasion became her focus.
The incredible installation measuring 4m by 4m 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.
Clare added: “As part of the installation we want to include 10,000 ‘works of heart’ – small hand knitted or crocheted hearts - created by local knitters, community groups and celebrities. These will be made available for visitors to place on trees around the ‘Work of Heart’ garden in return for a donation to the hospice charity, making it a living and growing display over the course of the festival.
“We need as many people as possible to pick up their knitting and crochet needles to help us create these 10,000 hearts. That’s why we are asking people to create a ‘Work of Heart’ for our garden.”
To get behind Clare’s fundraising effort and make a donation please click here.