North East Connected

Elderly artists’ lanterns illuminate Saltburn’s Valley of Light


ELDERLY artists toured Saltburn’s Valley of Light after creating some of the exhibition’s illuminations during a craft session at their care home.

Residents at Hazelgrove Court Care Home, on Randolph Street, were among visitors to Valley of Light at Saltburn Valley Gardens.

For the residents, however, the tour was an opportunity to see their hard work among the constellation of light installations.

Joyce Wooffindin, 83, Betty Wood, 99, Ellen Else, 93, and Sheila O’Neill, 84, were among those who enjoyed a lantern making workshop to create illuminated bunting for the exhibition.

Joyce said: “The workshop was wonderful. I was proud to be part of it. Then going to the Valley Gardens was magical. The highlight was when I got to the top of the hill and saw my own creation.”

Betty said: “I have lived in Saltburn a long time and to be able to be part of the workshop for this project was amazing – it brought out my artistic side.

“To go see our finished work was the icing on the cake. It made me feel part of the community still. For someone who is 99 it means a lot. Thank you for letting us be part of this.”

Ellen said: “I loved taking part in the Valley of Light. We made the bunting based on a story that reminded me of my days as a headmistress and seeing so many children visiting on the night was lovely.”

Sheila said: “I love being creative and have passed this onto my daughters. To take part in the workshop with Ally made me a very proud mother.”

Ally O’Neill is Sheila’s daughter, who took part in the arts and crafts workshop and accompanied the residents on their visit to the Valley Gardens.

She said: “It was lovely to be involved with my Mam. To go and see it was magical. I’ve never been able to take Mam into the woods and gardens before, so to have the transport to do this made it a very special experience.”

Sharon Lewis, activities coordinator at Hazelgrove Court Care Home, helped residents with their creations and joined them on their visit to the Valley Gardens.

She said: “I loved being able to get our residents involved in this project. They always amaze me at what they can achieve. I’m extremely proud of them.

“They made wonderful lanterns that were then turned into illuminated bunting. To go see the Valley of Light when our bunting was all lit up was amazing. It was a magical night.”

Valley of Light was organised by Stellar Projects and created in collaboration with residents of Redcar and Cleveland, commissioned by Borderlands and funded by Arts Council England, Creative People and Places.

As well as lanterns and other light displays, the exhibition included “shadow stories” from the individuals involved, and performances by Whippet Up, Saltburn Smugglers, and storytelling by Ian Douglas and his Magic Lantern.

Lyndsey Stephenson, from Stellar Projects, said: “Creating Valley of Light in Saltburn was a wonderful experience.

“It was shaped and led by the ideas and creativity of the local community and demonstrated the power of a community working together.

“As part of the project, we worked with some of the residents of Hazelgrove Court, which was incredibly uplifting, as the group were so welcoming, showed incredible enthusiasm and made some wonderful creations that formed a key part of the event.

“We are very grateful to have been able to work with Hazelgrove and hope we can work together again in the future.”

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