North East Connected

Arts project puts hospice on the memories map

AN arts project has put a hospice on the map as a community strives to capture its memories for posterity.

Artist Suzie Devey used the silhouettes of patients at St Teresa’s Hospice to form an artwork in the form of an original ink drawing chart on which key memories have been recorded.

People’s stories ranged from memories of commuting on the Flying Scotsman while reading Agatha Christie novels and joining the Wrens to see the world to Cockerton Canal and a crazy collie who thought he was a duck.

Suzie spent six weeks working with patients at St Teresa’s Hospice, which provides free in-patient and community care for people living with life-limiting illnesses and their families in Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire.

The project was coordinated by Jo Cole, access officer at Tees Valley Museums, working with patients who use the hospice’s Wellbeing Hub.

At the official unveiling Suzie said: “It has been amazing and has felt like a real privilege. I feel like the guardian of their stories. Many of the roots went back to the railways. It’s incredible what we have found out.”

Jo added: “We have been trying to capture the stories that aren’t represented in our museums that will get lost as time goes on. We thought we would use St Teresa’s as a base but then realised we could offer the group here a chance to reminisce and tell us their stories.”

Head of Steam museum learning and access officer Sarah Gouldsbrough said: “It has been a great social activity and has brought meaning to what they are doing.”

Specialist palliative care counsellor and family support worker Jennifer Smithson said: “There was a real buzz in every session as members of the group chatted and sparked off memories together. Everyone really enjoyed being able to look back at old maps of Darlington and discuss how things have changed. I was delighted to see the finished piece and so proud of everyone involved.”

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