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Women holding eternal flames for sale.

Carlisle artist Sue Simmons’ tribute to much-loved sister will help raise vital funds for Eden Valley Hospice

6 March 2023

An artist from Carlisle is hoping her latest project will provide an everlasting tribute to her sister and a special gift to the charity who cared for her at the end of her life.

Creator Sue Simmons, who produces art under the banner ‘Sooz in The Shed’, has spent the last six months producing 100 glass sculptures which she has called Eternal Flames. The glass sculptures represent the memory of a loved one never dying and will be raising money for Eden Valley Hospice.

The hospice cared for Sue’s sister Julie Wood in late 2020 when her symptoms of cancer worsened, and she died in the hospice in December of that year aged 48.

Sue, a second year Artist Designer Maker: Glass and Ceramics student at Sunderland University, said: “In Carlisle there’s nothing bad anyone says about the hospice, everybody has had a good experience. If I can help with a bit of fundraising to enable another family to have the same level of care and support at the end of someone’s life, then I wanted to be able to do that.

“It was nice to know she was there and being looked after so well. We were comfortable in knowing where she was and the standard of care she was getting.”

Julie is remembered by her family as the “favourite auntie” and someone who loved life.

“You knew she was coming before you could see her,” Sue added.

“It was usually the music coming from her car. She was effervescent and full of life.”

A private opening ceremony for a small number of Sue and Julie’s family and friends took place in the hospice yesterday (Sunday), just a few days before what would’ve been Julie’s 51st birthday, where the flames were revealed to people for the first time.

To continue offering care and support to people like Julie and her family, it costs the charity more than £4 million each year, with more than £3 million of that needing to be raised by the hospice through a variety of fundraising initiatives.

Eleanor Viney, fundraising manager for the hospice, said: “The sculptures Sue has created are incredibly beautiful and tactile pieces, and we’re exceptionally grateful to her for all the time and effort she has put into her fundraising project. The flames are a way of holding someone close as you hold one in your hand, and as such are a really wonderful way to remember someone. We know that each flame and memory will raise much-needed funds for the hospice to allow us to continue caring for other local people.”

The Eternal Flames will be on display in Eden Valley Hospice, Durdar Road, Carlisle, from Monday, March 6th for two weeks. They will be available for a suggested minimum donation of £20 and can be collected once the display period has ended.

To enquire about their availability, please contact the hospice’s fundraising team on fundraising@edenvalleyhospice.org or by calling 01228 810801.

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