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Painting stones gives college lecturer Helena satisfaction

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A Soham lecturer has been helping to comfort those suffering with Covid-19 through artwork created with an online group.

Fifty-eight-year-old Helena Rudd, is a performing arts lecturer at West Suffolk College and has been painting ‘comfort pebbles’ for patients who are in hospital and may not have contact with loved ones.

Pebble painting has traditionally been focused on leaving pieces of artwork in public places to be found, with online group such as Love on the Rocks UK dedicated to pebble art.

Helena Rudd with some of the pebbles she has been painting.
Helena Rudd with some of the pebbles she has been painting.

As the pandemic began, the group teamed up with Liz Searle, CEO of Keech Hospice Care and Hospice UK in the hope of using pebbles to lift the spirits of those suffering with Covid-19 and ‘comfort pebbles’ was born.

The initiative has led to many people painting boxes full of pebbles to send messages of hope, kindness and compassion, which are ready to send to any hospital in England.

“I am really enjoying this opportunity to do something for people affected by Covid-19,” said Helena. “ I am very fortunate that I am able to stay safe and work from home and I have been very touched to see the level of care and compassion showed by staff in all the care sectors.”

West Suffolk College’s culinary arts students have also been keeping busy and resourceful during the pandemic, maintaining their usual quality of recipes while struggling to find ingredients.

The students have ‘shown great imagination’ in their use of ingredients during the crisis and this resilience has ensured that their digital studies have not been affected.

Matthew Goulding, head of culinary arts at the college, said: “Over the last few weeks, we have all experienced problems with getting certain ingredients and items from supermarkets. This could have caused a problem for our culinary students at the college. But they have shown great imagination in overcoming any problems and coming up with different ways of achieving the same great recipes.”

Mr Goulding, who has been at the college for 10 years but only started his new role two weeks before lock down, continued: “Edmunds has a strong reputation, both as the hub of culinary courses and also hosting dining experiences at the college and outside catering.

“We didn’t want this to stop over the last few weeks so we have moved online to offer inspirational recipes for students and the wider community alike.”