This year, to keep that family feeling, Willow Wood are asking children to take part in a butterfly artwork competition, with fabulous chocolate hamper as the prize. Open to all ages, the children are asked to create a butterfly, take a photo holding it and post on the Willow Wood Facebook page. They’ll all be put into an album with a winner chosen at random on Saturday 11 July, the day of the release.
Willow Wood’s Butterfly Memory Release usually takes place as part of a very busy Summer Fete, with live music, a barbecue, craft stalls, face painters and more. Indeed, this uplifting remembrance event is so popular that the 600 plus butterflies are set free in three separate groups with families gathering to hear our chaplain’s blessing and see the butterflies take flight in our gardens.
However, this year we have had to make the decision that, even if social distancing is relaxed somewhat, we will not be able to go ahead with the Fete or invite participants to release the live Painted Lady butterflies themselves. Safety must come first and therefore the chief executive of the Hospice, Karen Houlston, will release the butterflies all together, following the blessing. This will be filmed so that everyone dedicating a butterfly will still feel part of the day and it will be a wonderful spectacle to see the hundreds of Painted Ladies flying freely amongst the colourful blooms in the gardens.
Actually releasing the butterflies and watching them slowly awake in your hands before flying off into the butterfly-friendly grounds at the Hospice has always been such a magical moment, particularly for children. Although a remembrance event, the Butterfly Release is very family-oriented; last year there were children’s stalls such as hook the duck, a coconut shy and of course a chocolatier!
We’ve already had a number of entries, including sisters Rosie and Alice Hughes who created beautiful artworks using plenty of glitter! Guides for colouring in are available by going to www.willowwood.info/support-us/butterfly-memory-release, or children can create their own, using crayons, paints, handprints, or even make a collage using different materials. Just have fun and get involved.
The Butterfly Memory Release itself is open to everyone who wants to remember loved ones in this way, not just to those with a connection to Willow Wood. To find out more or to dedicate a butterfly online please visit the page above.
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