Thursday, 24 September 2020

Mother’s emotional plea prompts acts of kindness

Mother’s emotional plea prompts acts of kindness

A WOMAN from Henley who has hardly seen her daughter during the coronavirus lockdown has been receiving artistic mementos from strangers after going public with her feelings.

Eleanor Hobbes, of Waterman’s Road, is separated from six-year-old Felicity-Jay Daniel’s father, who lives at Highlands Park.

And while she has been at home with her husband Ben and her stepchildren Aaron, Ashton and Abigale during the lockdown, she has hardly seen Felicity-Jay because she lives with her dad.

Mrs Hobbes wrote on Facebook about how difficult it was for families to stay in touch during the lockdown.

Her post was seen by Caoilte Proctor who showed it to his daughter Marianne, 12, who painted a picture of Felicity-Jay and sent it to Mrs Hobbes.

She then shared the painting on social media where it attracted attention from as far as Australia and New Zealand and resulted in other people sending her their pictures of Felicity-Jay, a pupil at Trinity Primary School.

She plans to keep all of the pictures in a memory box to show her daughter how much she was missed during the lockdown.

Mrs Hobbes said: “I put this post up on Facebook about missing my daughter, who I am struggling to keep in contact with at the moment. I have managed to see her a couple of times, probably three at most, during the whole of lockdown.

“That has had a snowball effect and I now have about 20 pictures of my little girl. Marianne was really sweet and I wanted to make sure her hard work was recognised.”

Marianne, who lives in Kidmore Road, Caversham, with her father, mother Sara and sister Cecelia, nine, said: “I really wanted to do the picture. It took me an afternoon and I used pastels for the outline and then I used paints and pencils to colour it in.

“During this time, Eleanor hasn’t been able to see her daughter, so it was all the more reason for me to want to do it. It was quite heart-warming that she liked it so much.”

Mr Proctor said: “I saw Eleanor’s post and mentioned it to Marianne who is naturally quite enthusiastic and really likes drawing. It was such a lovely thing to do and it is brilliant that lots of other people have done drawings too. It must be nice for Eleanor.”

Mrs Hobbes and Marianne have since teamed up to produce a canvas of two hands clapping for the NHS, which they donated to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

In order to produce the painting, the canvas went to and from Henley and Caversham as they took it in turns to paint it.

It features one hand filled with small colourful hearts and the other with overlapping rainbows. They exchanged ideas for the painting by messaging each other. Mrs Hobbes said: “I was a lot like Marianne when I was her age. I went to Gillotts School and did art and went on to study it at Henley College but then I went straight into the working world and never picked up a paintbrush again.

“I saw so much of myself in her and I thought it would be quite nice to give back to the people who are working hard at the moment.

“It is quite worrying going to places like hospitals lately but Ben and I went with our face masks to give them the painting.”

Marianne said: “I did all of the colouring in. The first hand took about a week-and-a-half and the second one with the rainbows probably only took a morning to do.”

Mrs Hobbes, who used to have a cleaning company called Home-Birds, is now hoping to start a charitable business called Magical Rainbow Fairies.

She explained: “The aim is to teach children the power of positive thinking. We have all been going outside and clapping for the NHS, which is wonderful, but our kids have been forgotten about and it is really tough on them.

“We are putting these helium wishing balloons together, which are filled with little pots of rainbow dust and have little postcards attached. They can pop them, or let them go, and sprinkle the dust while they are out on their walks. It’s biodegradable.”

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