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Visitors to St Giles Hospice enjoy work by poets and artists

Artists, poets, patients and schoolchildren brought some colour to St Giles Hospice as part of an event to mark national Dying Matters Week.

Artist Keith Wilkins with Eleanor Young

Artist Keith Wilkins with Eleanor Young

More than 100 visitors attended the free Arts for Life evening at the Whittington Hospice which featured musical performances by violinist Darin Qualls, as well as a live painting demonstration by professional Tamworth artist Robin Mason and craftwork demonstrations by members of the Lichfield Society of Artists.

Staffordshire Poet Laureate Emily Rose Galvin, lead a poetry session featuring readings from Cockatiels and Bold Women, a new anthology of work produced by Staffordshire poets.

Taking place each May, Dying Matters Week aims to place awareness of death, dying and bereavement on the national agenda.

Ian Leech, community engagement manager for St Giles Hospice, said: “The event was a huge success and we were delighted to see so many people through our doors. It gave us another opportunity to show people that a hospice is so much more than just a building.

“Arts and crafts play a huge part in hospice life, from providing therapy for our day hospice patients to helping bereaved young people through difficult times. It was great to see a wide range of artists visiting the hospice and to be able to celebrate the skills of our day hospice patients and members of our crafty pals and computer groups.”

Visitors, who included Lord Mayor David Leytham and Staffordshire Police Commissioner Matthew Ellis, also got the chance to see a demonstration of the hospice’s new virtual reality app to help patients with pain management.

Work by children from Elswick Nursery, Whittington Primary School and John Taylor High School was also on display alongside art from St Giles’ Phoenix Children and Young Person’s Peer Support Group.

Ian added: “It takes a community to make a hospice because without the support of local people we wouldn’t be here. Our Arts for Life event enabled us to share the inspirational thoughts and perspectives of our patients, their families and supporters, as well as inviting our local community into the hospice.”

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