Last week, I was truly honoured to have been invited to the opening of “Taking Flight,” a superb new art installation at Trentham Gardens in Stoke-on-Trent featuring 5000 ceramic butterflies that will each be sold to raise vital funds for The Donna Louise Hospice for children and young people.
About The Donna Louise Hospice
If you live in Stoke or surrounding areas you will almost certainly be aware of The Donna Louise Hospice and its fabulous work; supporting children and young people with life-limiting conditions and their families. I have personal experience of just how much the hospice’s work means to families of seriously ill children – the daughter of a very dear friend of mine has been fighting cancer for the past 2 years and the support the hospice has given them as a family has been invaluable. From activities, play sessions, trips and educational days for the children and their siblings (all with doctors and nurses on site) to yoga, social events, counselling and more for the adults of the family: the work that the hospice does is truly inspirational.
What is The Butterflies Project?
Until recently, the hospice was unable to support young people beyond their 19th birthday, which left many families feeling uncertain and stressed about the future. The hospice therefore made the bold decision to expand their services to include teens and young adults. Therefore, The Butterflies project was born, an innovative project, inspired by the poppies at the Tower of London, to help the hospice to continue their amazing care and to be able to promise to families that they will be there for them for as long as they are needed.
The Butterflies is the result of a collaboration between Staffordshire businesses, the local ceramics industry, education, charity, art and engineering all working together; donating their time money, expertise and materials to raise these vital funds. Each limited edition butterfly is unique and has been crafted by the ceramics experts at Johnson Tiles – who made the poppies for the Tower of London installation. It has then been glazed and finished by the world-renowned Wade Ceramics in the heart of Stoke-on-Trent.
It was a project that very nearly didn’t happen, but thanks to the determination of the organisers and all of the sponsors, volunteers and helpers the project grew wings and took flight – and it truly is a stunning sight to behold!
Butterflies are a symbol of hope. They represent endurance, change and life. They are also often a symbol of fragile and short lives and the Donna Louise promises that however long or short a child’s life may be, they will be there to support every member of the family, every step of the way. As a Mum myself, this really resonates with me and really highlights just how important this project is.
How You Can Buy Your Own Butterfly
As I type this, there are currently 3733 of these beautiful butterflies still available to buy. Head over to “The Butterflies” site to purchase your own little piece of Stoke-on-Trent history and to help this amazing hospice continue their inspirational work.
You can view The Butterflies at Trentham Gardens in the stunning Italian Gardens from 25th May 2019 until 3rd November 2019. Trentham Gardens is a wonderful place for a family day out – find out more here.
The Butterflies is the first event in a major campaign in Stoke-on-Trent which encourages visitors to venues, events and attractions to use the social media hashtag #MyStokeStory and shine a spotlight on the world-class cultural destinations that our fabulous city offers and the talent and creativity at the heart of our community.
Paul Williams, Chair of Stoke-on-Trent Cultural Destinations said: “We are encouraging everyone who visits one of our amazing cultural destinations to share their experiences by tagging their pictures with #MyStokeStory. This is just the start of what we hope will be a fantastic way for us to tell the stories of the people who visit our venues, events and festivals across Stoke-on-Trent.
“Through #MyStokeStory we can build up a picture of what these places mean to the people who visit, changing the way we talk about our experience and perceptions of Stoke-on-Trent as a destination, along with encouraging more people from the region and beyond to discover them for themselves.”
You can find out more about the My Stoke Story campaign here.
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