From the art: bereaved youngsters in special Hornchurch exhibition

NOTHING can replace 14-year-old Ryan Butcher’s mum Jayne, who died of cancer earlier this year, but the teenager has created a poignant painting dedicated to her memory.

His is one of 23 works of art by grieving youngsters currently on display in Hornchurch Library, in a moving exhibition called Fireworks and Feelings.

All the children, aged between five and 18, have lost a close relative cared for by Havering-atte-Bower-based charity, St Francis Hospice.

Ryan, from Hornchurch, painted his mum’s initials and filled them with smaller pictures that represent her personality.

“It feels really special to see my picture up on the wall in a frame,” he said. “On the day I sat there for quite a while when I was creating it, deciding what to do, but I’m really proud of myself now.”

The designs were created at an art day organised by the hospice’s Family Support Service, who offer counselling, guidance, and practical and emotional support to all patients, their relatives and their children.

Donations from a number of local groups and businesses allowed the hospice to buy a wide variety of materials, including glitter glue, stickers, feathers, ribbons, canvasses, brushes and paint.

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Dee Gardner, a social worker for children and families at the hospice, said: “Art enables us to express the otherwise inexpressible elements of our experiences, and it helps us to understand them better. This is art work from the heart using feelings which are individual and different for each young person, with no right or wrong approach.”

They will now remain on display for public viewing for the next two weeks.

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