After the initial announcement of the trail in March, the revealing of the chosen sculpture, or ‘Big Hoots’, in May also sees Suffolk artist Angie Ashford showcase her creation of the all-important first ‘Hoot’ of the trail as it is unveiled by St Elizabeth Hospice to much public anticipation.
Heralding from Trimley St Mary, Angie is a full-time artist, and former healthcare assistant at Ipswich Hospital, well known for her varied artwork including portraiture, pastel and charcoal work as well as pet portraits.
Her chosen design for the first Big Hoot features the oxlip, a flower synonymous with Suffolk, entwined among scenes from around the county, encapsulating the beauty of the area where St Elizabeth Hospice supports more than 3,000 patients and their families every year.
“I was keen for my design to focus on Suffolk, especially after the difficult year Covid-19 has brought, it was important to celebrate the positives around us,” explained Angie.
“With the oxlip being the flower of Suffolk it was an ideal choice, and its stalks and leaves neatly link the many icons of Suffolk on the Big Hoot, including Framlingham Castle, the Suffolk Punch and Christchurch Mansion.”
This is not the first time Angie has supported St Elizabeth Hospice and its art trails. As she also designed the popular Elmer Travel Trunk which featured in the hospice’s Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk 2019, before finding a new home aboard Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Balmoral cruise ship, following an auction of the statues in aid of St Elizabeth Hospice.
Angie said: “Art has always been an interest of mine. It’s a wonderful way of expressing yourself and I enjoy losing myself in my work, its very relaxing.
“Taking part in Elmer’s Big Parade 2019 was a great experience and it was fantastic to see so many people coming to Ipswich, especially families, to enjoy the trail. To be asked to take part in the Big Hoot 2022 is a real privilege, but to be chosen to be the artist which designs the first Hoot, I am still pinching myself!”
Angie is not the only member of her family to be a St Elizabeth Hospice supporter, with her dad John Morley being a hospice fundraiser. From skydiving to abseiling down Ipswich Hospital, both after passing his 90th birthday, John has given considerable support to the hospice and even encouraged Angie to take part in Elmer’s Big Parade 2019.
“Dad was a day visitor to the hospice in 2018 and when he heard the Elmers were taking place he told me to get involved,” added Angie.
“He loves to support St Elizabeth Hospice and it is a cause close to both our hearts. My sister died a few years before the hospice was established and it would have been a service she would have likely used. So we are keen other families, who have experienced similar experiences to us, should have the opportunity to receive the support of the hospice if possible.
“That is what is so good about the art trails, not only are they bright and happy events but they also highlight the work of the hospice and how it enables people, who are nearing the end of life, to live well in an environment which is calm and welcoming.
“While supported by staff who make you feel comfortable and bring good to the lives of many people, during difficult times.
“It is such a special charity and wherever you go in Suffolk you meet people who know someone who has a relative, a friend or a loved one who has been cared for by St Elizabeth Hospice. It really is at the centre of the community and the Big Hoot 2022 is the perfect way for us all to come together and show our support.”