Local HeART Artist Supports Hospice who Cared for Mum in Final Days

Rachel Benson, Welton resident and recent Psychology and Counselling graduate from Bishop Grosseteste University, designed the ‘Heart of the City’ sculpture as part of the St Barnabas HeART Trail, with her creation sitting outside St Barnabas Charity Shop on the High Street.

Her mum, Glenis, was diagnosed with cancer in March 2022. “She had no symptoms at all” Rachel recalls, “it was only after a colonoscopy, which came back clear, she started having symptoms. In March she went into hospital and never came out.”

At the start of April, the family transferred Glenis to the St Barnabas Inpatient Unit in Lincoln to receive palliative care, knowing it would be a more comfortable experience for her. “It’s such a nicer atmosphere compared to a hospital, where I don’t think mum was particularly happy to be, and there’s that support there that you wouldn’t get from being at home” says Rachel.

Glenis stayed there for ten days before she passed away with her family by her side. “The thing that stood out for me was how they cared for all of us, the whole family, and not just mum” Rachel explains. “You’d think they are only looking after the patient, but they looked after us all and always made sure we’d eaten. Everyone was just so considerate of us and kind which goes such a long way.”

St Barnabas even offered the option for the family to stay overnight, and from the very beginning offered counselling and mental wellbeing support services. “It was quite surprising as we didn’t realise they offered that level of service and care there.” St Barnabas have the mission to not only ensure all individuals facing the end of their life in Lincolnshire receive dignified and compassionate care, but also that the entire family is supported throughout the process and beyond.

Rachel has followed St Barnabas since her mum died, so she saw the call last summer for artists to get involved in their HeART Trail. Although her mum worked at the Environment Agency for around 25 years, she had an artistic side and was very talented. “My mum used to paint and was creative, so naturally I always wanted to be able to paint and draw like her – I am nowhere near as good as she was!” Rachel chuckles, “but I like to think she’s the inspiration behind my creative side. I never actually thought my design would be chosen, so it was a bit of a shock when I found out!”

Rachel’s HeART will be on the high street until early September, when all the sculptures are brought together at Lincoln Museum to be displayed until the 28th September when eleven of the HeARTs will be auctioned, including Rachel’s sculpture. Bidding is set to start from £3,000 and all money raised will go to St Barnabas, enabling the charity to continue providing their incredible compassionate care to those who need it.

“It is just a completely one-of-a-kind service you don’t see anywhere else. They remove the stress of the caring side; that is all done for you, so you can focus on spending time with your loved one” Rachel concludes.

If you are interested in attending the auction, keep an eye on the St Barnabas website www.stbarnabashospice.co.uk for more information.