ARTISTS, poets, patients and schoolchildren brought some colour to St Giles Hospice when they helped stage an ‘Arts for Life’ evening to mark national Dying Matters Week.

More than 100 visitors attended the free event at the Whittington Hospice on May 16 which featured musical performances by world-renowned violinist Darin Qualls, as well as a live painting demonstration by professional Tamworth artist Robin Mason and live painting and craftwork demonstrations by members of the Lichfield Society of Artists.

Staffordshire Poet Laureate Emily Rose Galvin, lead a poetry session featuring readings from Cockatiels and Bold Women, a new anthology of poetry produced by Staffordshire poets and inspired by messages on the St Giles Hospice Conversation Board.

Visitors, who included Lord Mayor Councillor David Leytham and Staffordshire Police Commissioner Matthew Ellis, also got the chance to see a demonstration of the hospice’s new hi-tech virtual reality app to help patients with pain management.

Work by children from Elswick Nursery, Whittington Primary School and John Taylor High School was also on display alongside art from St Giles’ Phoenix Children and Young Person’s Peer Support Group.

Ian Leech, Community Engagement Manager for St Giles, said: “The event was a huge success and we were delighted to see so many people through our doors. It gave us another opportunity to show people that a hospice is so much more than just a building.

“Arts and crafts play a huge part in hospice life, from providing therapy for our day hospice patients to helping bereaved young people through difficult times. It was great to see a wide range of artists visiting the hospice and to be able to celebrate the skills of our day hospice patients and members of our crafty pals and computer groups.”

Taking place each May, Dying Matters Week aims to place awareness of death, dying and bereavement on the national agenda. This year’s campaign posed the question, “What can you do in your community?” as its theme.

Ian added: “It takes a community to make a hospice because without the support of local people we wouldn’t be here. Our Arts for Life event enabled us to share the inspirational thoughts and perspectives of our patients, their families and supporters, as well as inviting our local community into the hospice.”

St Giles offers emotional, physical and practical support to people living with diseases which may not be curable in their homes and at centres in Lichfield, Sutton Coldfield and Walsall.

For more information about St Giles and the expert care it provides, please visit