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Knitting Gloucester Widow crowned Most Creative Fundraiser in UK

RHS Malvern Spring Festival - Clare Young Just Giving Awards.jpg
23rd November 2018

You may remember the Work of Heart Garden designed by Clare Young which featured at RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2018. We are delighted to announce Clare has been awarded the JustGiving Award for Most Creative Fundraiser of the Year.

Clare 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 loss. 

Her knitted creation and her tremendous fundraising for Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, who helped care for Ken, saw Clare 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 glittering star-studded awards ceremony in London on 20 Noember, with Clare being crowned 'Creative Fundraiser of the Year'.

Work of Heart Garden, a 4m by 4m full size woollen garden modelled on a hospice bedroom, has so far raised £26,000 for Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, with fundraising still ongoing at www.justgiving.com/workofheartgarden

Clare was joined by knitters who helped create the garden and representatives from the hospice charity as she picked up the prestigious award. Following her win Clare said, “I’m 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 couldn’t 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.” 

“It was a huge honour to be present among so many inspiring and brave fundraisers at the awards who are all making such a difference to their local communities and causes. Well done to all of them.”

“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.”

More about the Work of Heart Garden

Work of Heart Garden grew from the seed of an idea after Clare’s psychologist suggested she pick up her knitting needles to help manage the symptoms of depression, anxiety and PTSD she was experiencing following her husband’s death from cancer in 2015.

Clare started knitting dolls to sell at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, then yarn bombed the hospice with a special thank you message. The press coverage from this led to an invitation for her to create something at RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2018, where her friend Suzy Hillier heads up Commercial Operations.

Clare gathered together friends, volunteers and community groups to pull together a once in a life time creation and set up an online giving page on JustGiving so people could donate towards her efforts in support of Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court.

The creation became the first ever full size knitted show garden installation for the RHS, proudly unveiled and showcased at RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2018. It has since appeared at The Cotswold Show and Food Festival, Gloucester Cathedral and Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice Autumn Fayre.