Wednesday, 08 July 2020

£50,000 raised by art cafe since 2015

AN artist has raised more than £50,000 for good causes in four years.

Gill Williamson, of Eastfield Lane, Whitchurch, launched the village’s weekly Art Café in 2015.

This takes place at the Old Stables, off High Street, every Saturday morning and visitors can buy works by local artists while enjoying homemade cakes and hot drinks.

Mrs Williamson raised almost £5,000 in 2017 by covering Whitchurch bridge in more than 100 pieces of art made by schools and community groups.

The “yarn bombing” display, organised with fellow villager Alison Livesey, featured knitted scenes as well as paintings, drawings and collages inspired by the Thames Path.

In 2018, Mrs Williamson raised a similar sum by encouraging villagers to make a series of clay totem poles inspired by the seasons. These were displayed on Pangbourne Meadow by Whitchurch toll bridge.

The proceeds have been shared among 48 charities including the friends of St Mary’s Church in Whitchurch and St John’s Church in Whitchurch Hill and Whitchurch’s sustainability group, art and crafts exhibition, history society, parochial church council, pre-school and primary school, theatre club and twinning association.

Other beneficiaries include Goring Gap Boat Club, Whitchurch Hill WI, the Thames Valley Air Ambulance and charities including the Alzheimer’s Society, British Heart Foundation and Royal British Legion.

Mrs Williamson said: “I naturally hoped the Art Café would be successful but I didn’t realise it would do quite so well.

“I’m absolutely thrilled and really grateful to everyone who has supported it. We’ve done well every year since it started and I think people really enjoy coming — the homemade cake gives us an edge over the big coffee shops.”

Mrs Williamson is now running a project called #Faceuptohomelessness in which she and a group of volunteers are knitting quilts in aid of the Reading homelessness charity Launchpad.

The charity’s representatives have visited the village to give talks about the myths surrounding the problem.

Tomorrow’s Art Café will be in aid of the twinning association and next week’s will benefit the theatre club.

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