A CELEBRATED North-East artist has created a special piece of art to raise vital funds for a national grief counselling charity after being inspired by a family’s story of losing a loved one.

International artist Mackenzie Thorpe was moved to create the pastel artwork after hearing about the sudden loss of a business acquaintance’s much-loved father from Covid-19.

Unable to comfort each other in-person due to lockdown restrictions, Eloise Herridge described how her family had displayed yellow hearts in their windows to remember her father Kim Brier, enabling them to connect and help each other through their grief.

Mackenzie said: “When I heard Eloise’s story about the loss of her father and the symbolism behind the yellow hearts, it moved me; the visual image of people marking their loss with a yellow heart wouldn’t leave me, and inspired me.

“I wanted in my own way to honour and remember every single person lost; every person a precious light within their own families, who would never be forgotten.”

Entitled ‘A Light in the Storm’, Mackenzie’s piece shows two people sitting on a jetty, hands connected around a glowing yellow heart, surrounded by a multitude of other yellow hearts floating on water.

A Light in the Storm, by Mackenzie Thorpe

The original artwork and its limited-edition prints will now be sold to raise funds for national UK charity Cruse Bereavement Care, which Mackenzie hopes will receive more than £20,000 from the sales.

“As an artist, all I can contribute is my artwork,” Mackenzie said, “so I really hope this image connects with people, and that this fantastic charity can go on to support those people who desperately need their help.”

Charlene Vallory, Head of Fundraising at Cruse Bereavement Care said: “It’s absolutely fantastic that Mackenzie Thorpe has reached out to support bereaved people in this way.

“The money raised from the sale of this poignant picture will make a huge difference to the lives of bereaved people – as well as giving people the chance to own a magnificent piece of artwork.”

Ten prints will also be donated to organisations, charities, and hospitals throughout the country, with James Cook Hospital, in Middlesbrough, being one of the first to receive a copy.

Only 125 prints will be produced in total, which will be available from Mackenzie’s Arthaus gallery in Richmond, North Yorkshire.