Fran with her quilts and crafts stall

Fran and friend’s creative talents support Winston’s Wish

The pandemic put a stop to a great number of our usual activities and hobbies and for many of us, getting creative became a positive way to stay connected and hone our skills. Fran Battin and her friends started putting their talents to work, choosing to make beautiful handmade items for children and parents that they could sell to raise funds and support Winston’s Wish. They’ve now held a number of sales outside a local farm shop with the help of more of their friends, and have more creative projects in the pipeline to help support grieving children and young people. We asked Fran more about her fundraising and plans for the future.

Why did you decide to begin fundraising for Winston’s Wish?

When Covid hit our country all of my craft activities stopped, and I began to think about the families who were affected by the illness. Many children must have been experiencing grief at the loss of family or friends. Not being able to go to craft groups left me without the enthusiasm or inspiration to do anything. After talking with a friend, Barbara and my sister we decided to make things that children would like to own and we held our first sale at The Valley in Evesham. The Valley is a collection of shops one of which is Cotswold Needle-craft, who kindly agreed for us to set to stall in front of their window, with the centre manager’s permission.

What prompted you to decide to continue?

We enjoyed the craft making and selling so much that we decided to repeat it on three occasions during the year. More people have joined us in making things and friends have helped at our stalls and have come to support the charity by buying things.

After our first stall at The Valley we had to change location as the centre manager could not accommodate us any longer. I approached our farm shop, Ellenden, which is run by a family who are very much community centered. I was so pleased that they agreed to let us put up a stall in front of the shop, and this has become our ‘home’.

What is the best and most challenging aspect of your crafting?

It is over 2 years since we began this journey and the joy of knowing we are helping children in need far outweighs the sorrows. I suppose the negative is watching hours of our work being sold cheaply as many will not buy the items at higher prices.

What does the future hold for your fundraising?

After diversifying into dog coats, toys, Christmas stockings and decorations (and more) we are now beginning to feel a need for a change as our ideas to make new things are running low. Next year we are hoping to have an Easter and Christmas sale and to make a quilt that can be auctioned off or raffled.