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Global garden grows in Gloucester Cathedral

A special charity garden is making a month-long appearance at Gloucester Cathedral this summer.

While the rest of the country is facing a hosepipe ban, this garden will need no watering, as it is entirely and completely made out of wool.

The Work of Heart Garden in support of Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice was created by Gloucester widow Clare Young in memory of her husband, Ken. It will be on show in Gloucester Cathedral from 1st August to 29th August, highlighting the positive benefits of knitting for mental health.

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

What followed was an outpouring of love which saw over 450 knitters from right across the globe knitting and crocheting over 50,000 woollen hearts in support of the project and hospice care - which Ken received before he died.

Local community and knitting groups also came together to create knitted pot plants, Cotswold stone walls, knitted green grass and knitted wall paper for the once in a life time creation. The garden became the first ever knitted show garden installation for the RHS, proudly unveiled and showcased at RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2018 raising funds for Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice.

Clare said, "I can't believe how much the Work of Heart garden has grown, and how it continues to touch people."

"Acknowledging my grief and love for Ken through knitting was a very powerful thing to do, and as it turns out, it was what others did too. In total people have knitted 52,000 hearts for the project and sent them to me through the post, many with touching messages of support and people's own grief stories.

I feel privileged that so many people have felt able to grieve through their knitting and share their stories with me too. I think that as I was brave enough to admit to my mental health issues and that I find grief difficult, I've in some way allowed others to express their grief too. Knitting has helped me and helped others in so many ways and it is just wonderful to be able to share that message with more people.

Being in Gloucester Cathedral is particularly poignant for me as whilst we're there it will be the third anniversary of Ken's death. It will be an emotional time, but I am looking forward to raising awareness and funds for the amazing care at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice who looked after us both so beautifully."

Visitors to the Cathedral during August will be able to see the Work of Heart Garden on display in the South Transept and will also have the opportunity to place their own knitted or crochet work of heart on the knitted walls of the garden in memory of loved ones, in return for a donation to Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice.

Community engagement manager at Gloucester Cathedral, Helen Jeffrey said, "We are excited and honoured to welcome Work of Heart and all it stands for here at the Cathedral. The power of community is clearly illustrated in this stunning piece of work. Similarly the power of crafts and art activity for inclusion and wellbeing is represented here through Clare's story - the project has been a lifeline to many and we hope that displaying it here will touch more lives for the better"

Entry to Gloucester Cathedral is free and the Work of Heart Garden will be on display during the Cathedral's normal opening hours. Please check the website for up-to-date closures or restricted access.

For more information on Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice click here. 

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