FUNDRAISING is blossoming at a North-East hospice thanks to a new work of art produced by a talented member of staff.

Ann-Marie Sawdon has branched out from her normal role as Business Development Manager at Butterwick Hospice Care to paint ‘Leaves of Love’ on a wall at the charity’s Stockton building.

The artwork is designed as “an everlasting tree of remembrance” to enable supporters to remember their loved ones in a special way, while also raising vital funds for the hospice.

Beautiful copper, silver and gold leaf-shaped plaques, along with delicate birds, can be purchased to adorn the tree so that it grows over time as an ever-changing piece of art. Each will be engraved with the name of a loved-one and a special message.

The tree has been positioned on a wall in the main reception, overlooking the garden, so that sunshine coming through a glass atrium roof, and a floor-to-ceiling window, glimmers off the metallic leaves and birds.

“It’s been a real labour of love and I can’t wait to see the leaves and birds begin to form on the branches,” said Ann-Marie, who trained at Cleveland College of Art and Design, in Hartlepool.

Ann-Marie has illustrated two children’s books –The Bridge That George Built and Football Boots and Dancing Shoes – but paints mainly for a hobby.

“We wanted to create something really personal and different that could be added to over time, and I was volunteered to get my paint brushes out!” she explained.

Copper leaves cost £50, silver leaves £100, gold leaves £150, and the birds are priced at £300. They will be placed on the tree for 12 months and can be renewed annually for £50. Leaves and birds that are not renewed will be carefully picked from the tree and posted to their owners’ homes to keep forever.

Debbie Jones, Chief Executive of the hospice, said: “Contributions to the tree will symbolise treasured memories for families in a very special way, while enabling the hospice to continue caring for others.

“Ann-Marie has done a blooming wonderful job in bringing the tree to life – and now we just need to start to see it blossom.”

The tree can accommodate approximately 150 leaves and birds, so it has the potential to raise thousands of pounds a year for the hospice which, like all charities, has been hit hard by the pandemic.

To purchase a leaf or bird go to www.butterwick.org.uk/events/upcomingevents/leaves-of-love/ or call 01642 628930