People have a last chance to show they have a heart this weekend.
The art project – aimed at raising funds for St Clare’s Hospice in Jarrow – ends on Sunday at the Customs House, South Shields.
The Have a Heart for the Hospice exhibition was organised in support of St Clare’s and has seen big names such as Prime Minister David Cameron, actor Stephen Fry, comedian Ken Dodd, TV’s Lorraine Kelly and South Shields artist Bob Olley decorate wooden hearts to be sold on.
More than 180 decorated wooden hearts are on display at the Mill Dam venue.
They will be sold to raise funds for the hospice, in Primrose Terrace, which provides palliative care to people in South Tyneside with life-limiting illnesses and needs to raise £1.4million a year to keep its doors open.
South Shields-born animator Sheila Graber cut the ribbon alongside St Clare’s chief executive David Hall at an exclusive launch party for the show.
I have always believed that everyone is an artist in their own way – over 20 years teaching in South Shields proved this to be true and now we see it again in the huge range of artwork created by folks from all works of life.Sheila Graber
Sheila, who has worked on the Paddington Bear TV series and taught art for many years, said: “I have always believed that everyone is an artist in their own way – over 20 years teaching in South Shields proved this to be true and now we see it again in the huge range of artwork created by folks from all walks of life.
“There have been contributions from TV presenters, community groups, politicians, actors, comedians, and professional artists.
“They have taken the time to produce art from the heart to help raise funds for one of the worthiest causes in our community.”
Tyler Anderson, community fundraiser for the hospice, said: “The launch evening was a huge success and we were astonished at the demand for hearts.
“Even though all the hearts are being sold on an anonymous basis, this did not deter people.
“The identity of the artist will be disclosed after people have purchased their piece of art, although a full list of contributors is published in a catalogue.
“There is a two-tier pricing system and a silent auction on certain special hearts.”
Artist Bob Olley has contributed a heart to be raffled throughout the exhibition.
He said: “Over the years I have been involved with a number of fundraising events for the hospice. For example, my partner and I spent a challenging week in the Mongolian desert riding bad-tempered two-humped camels.
“I also worked on events with the late, great comedian Frank Carson, who was a supporter of St Clare’s.
“I think the Have a Heart exhibition is a great idea and I am pleased to have been asked to take part.
“I am much more comfortable helping to raise funds for a local charity rather than one of the national organisations.”
The cost of providing care at St Clare’s is about £2million a year, with only 34% coming from the local NHS, leaving £1.4million to come from voluntary donations and contributions.
l For more information about the show, call 0191 451 6400 or visit www.stclareshospice.co.uk/events/have-a-heart-for-the-hospice