ONE YEAR ON: The beautiful floral artwork which became a symbol of hope in Wigan
The floral sculpture thanking NHS staff and other key workers which appeared in the Friends of the Cherries Community Garden in Swinley drew a massive response from the town’s residents.
The stunning display of beautiful artificial blooms put smiles on countless faces during the grim days of the first national lockdown in Wigan
Scores of residents posted on social media about seeing the flowers and having their spirits lifted as they walked past during their daily exercise or drove by.
One year on from the prime minister’s initial command for people to stay at home, the florists who led the team of Wigan businesses to create the piece have spoken of their continuing pride at the impact their work made.
Sarah Crookston of The Rose Boutique in Pemberton spotted a similar floral thank you outside a hospital in London and mentioned it to Kerry Docherty, who runs Wild Flowers in Standish.
Four other Wigan floral businesses then got involved to make the project become a reality.
Sarah said: “It’s something I’m really proud of, us coming together as Wigan florists to make it happen.
“Seeing it finished in brilliant sunshine with beautiful blue skies behind it was wonderful.
“I’m really proud of what it stands for and the fact that it still comes up in conversation.
“The reaction completely blew us away, it was brilliant. It just made so many people smile and that was completely our intention, creating something bright and colourful at a horrible time.”
Sarah said some of the most pleasing feedback was from Wigan Infirmary employees who saw it on their way to and from their work on the front line of the pandemic.
She said: “They said it had given them such a lift and it was such a nice thing to do, which was really lovely.”
The floral artwork consisted of the word “we” followed by a heart, “NHS” and then a rainbow to symbolise key workers, with the tribute to them placed over the top of it in small white floral lettering.
Kerry said: “The six florists involved were overwhelmed by the positive, long lasting impact the floral installation had on the community, especially all the lovely messages that came through on social media.
“We feel that using our skills gave us purpose to provide an uplifting message to the community and give thanks to those still going out to work during the pandemic.
“The site at The Cherries community garden was perfectly situated near to the hospital so that the NHS workers could see it on their commute and hospital staff did contact us to say that it made a difference.”
The other four florists involved were Kath Firth of Garlands, Stacey Whittaker from Perfect Daze, Angela Tickle of AM Flowers and Beth Crawshaw from Hedgerow Flowers.
Sarah thanked Wigan Council and the Friends of the Cherries Community Garden for their support for the project, while the main sponsors of it were NR Barton and Aport.
Several councillors also chipped in with financial backing.
The town hall agreed to extend the original planning permission for the structures so it could keep morale up as the borough continued to fight the novel coronavirus.
When it eventually had to be dismantled the floral message was taken to Thrive CIC in Hindley, which has created a base out of a former bank on Market Street.
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