Knitting Gloucester widow crowned JustGiving's Most Creative Fundraiser in the UK

Clare Young created the ‘Work of Heart Garden’ in memory of her husband Ken, who was cared for at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, after being advised to knit by her psychologist to help manage her grief and the mental health symptoms she experienced following his loss. 

Image of Clare Young, JustGiving's Most Creative Fundraiser 2018, with Caroline Jones (Knicker's Model's Own) and Anthea Turner

Pictured above: Clare Young, JustGiving's Most Creative Fundraiser 2018 (middle), with Caroline Jones (Knicker's Model's Own, left) and Anthea Turner (right)

Clare's knitted creation and her tremendous fundraising for Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, who helped care for Ken, saw her 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 last night, 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. Visit www.justgiving.com/workofheartgarden to find out more.

Clare was joined by knitters who helped create the garden and representatives from the hospice charity as she picked up the prestigious award. 

"If my story helps just one person not to be afraid of going to a hospice I will be happy.”

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.”

An incredible legacy

Elise Hoadley, Hospice Director at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice said, “I can’t put into words the tremendous difference Clare and Work of Heart Garden have made to our hospice. They are such deserving winners and we are absolutely thrilled for Team Work of Heart Garden!”

“Not only has the garden raised £26,000 towards our care, which could pay for nine Sue Ryder Nurses for a month, but Clare has bravely shared her story which has been read and seen by hundreds of thousands of people. Clare’s story is quite incredible, especially when she herself is still coming to terms with her own loss.”

“Through creating the Work of Heart Garden, Clare has told people that hospices are places full of life, that Sue Ryder provides expert and compassionate care for families when it matters, and has helped people talk more openly about grief. This is an incredible legacy. A huge congratulations and thank you to Clare and everyone involved with Work of Heart garden on this amazing achievement."

Keith Williams, general manager, UK & Ireland at JustGiving said, "We are delighted and honoured to announce Clare Young as the JustGiving 'Creative Fundraiser of the Year', for her commitment to raising awareness of the great work achieved by Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice."

"The JustGiving Awards not only symbolises the hope, courage and determination of the human spirit, in the face of adversity. It also shows how technology is able to empower people to change the world by supporting the causes they care about."

Help support Work of Heart Garden

You can still donate to Work of Heart Garden's fundraising by visiting Clare's JustGiving page.

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.

Help to support Work of Heart Garden

Visit Clare's JustGiving page to make a donation.