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Ellie’s Cow – Art from the heart

April 11, 2023

The cow that stands in Christopher’s garden was originally part of the Surrey Cow Parade in 2016 before being donated to the hospice. Years of being outdoors had faded the original designs, so it was sanded down, given a fresh coat of paint and revarnished over the summer of 2022, ready for a new art project at some point – which came about sooner than expected.

Ellie had always loved art, and that love continued when it was time for her to come to our hospice for end-of-life care. During her stay, with the support of her mum Kim, plus grandparents, aunts and uncles, she would create dozens of artworks for friends, family and for many of the staff who looked after her while she was at Christopher’s, all of which adorned her bedroom at the hospice.

While her mum had known Ellie’s diagnosis was terminal for a while, Ellie would not find out the devastating news until June. The day after she was told, in need of something else to focus on, the blank cow became a canvas for Ellie. With the help of hospice staff she and her mum decorated it with dozens of shapes and symbols.

Some held deeper meanings, like Ellie’s beloved giraffe and the family home, while others were just images, drawn as soon as they came to mind. Kim said “Ellie loved it and painted herself more than the cow but it was a great experience and really helped the mood.“

Ellie enjoying painting the cow and herself

Sadly, Ellie died only a few weeks later.  After she died, Brian, a friend of the family and artworker in the advertising industry, was approached to help turn photos of the cow into an artwork for the family, giving them another way to remember Ellie. While the paint will fade over time, her family will always have the special memories from that day.

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