Patients at the Nightingale House Hospice in Wrexham are being encouraged to show their creative side in woodcarving classes.
Every week Eileen Walker, regional leader of the North Wales and Borders branch of the British Woodcarvers Association, runs a woodcarving workshop for patients in the hospice’s day care unit.
“It is a very absorbing pastime,” says Eileen, who is a trustee at the hospice. “When a patient has a life-threatening illness they lose so many things. Woodcarving allows them to learn something new and can help them express their feelings.”
She says they often choose to carve love spoons as gifts but has even had one talented patient carve a steam train.
Kay Ryan, out patient services coordinator said: “With the help of Eileen, the patients have created someŠ amazing and very personal woodcarvings.Š Many patients don't think they will be able to carve but are always proud of their achievements.Š Woodcarving can be very therapeutic and gives a sense of achievement especially as most items are carved with someone special in mind.Š There is always laughter from the craft room whichŠ in itself provides relief from the day to day worries some patients have.”
Eileen, of Treuddyn near Mold, took up woodcarving when she retired as head of the College of Nursing and Midwifery in Cardiff. “I was on a totally unrelated course but saw people woodcarving and thought I would like to try it,” she said. “I wasn’t sure if I would be any good but was told by the teacher that if I could peel a potato I could carve wood! That gave me the confidence to try it.”
When she moved back to North Wales she was one of six founder members of the North Wales and Borders branch of the British Woodcarvers Association group which meets in the community centre in Johnstown every other Saturday. The group now has 60 members of all ages and abilities.
“We only ask that people bring a sense of humour and a mug for their tea!” says Eileen.
In the main, members use lime wood and have produced some fine artwork. They have recently presented the hospice with two intricate candleholders carved by a group of members.
New members are always welcome. For further information call Eileen on 01352 770706.