Alltwen and Pontardawe woke up in glorious technicolour this morning after being yarn bombed by a community group with a very special mission.
“Spinning Yarns – A Festival of Wool,” which starts today, is a community art project celebrating the life and memory of Harry Patterson, #Forever5, marking ten years since he died in a tragic accident.
The project began as a call out for anyone who could knit or crochet or sew, and soon grew into a great community effort to paint the town woolly.
Harry’s mum, Michelle said: “Five months ago I put a message out to see who could knit, crochet or sew in our village.
“So many women came forward and together we created ‘Spinning Yarns – A Festival of Wool’ in memory of Harry.”
Harry’s parents, actors Michelle McTernan and Christian Patterson, and his brother, Dylan, normally see the anniversary remembered by friends and family, colleagues and stars posting photographs of themselves wearing odd socks, just like Harry used to do.
Using the hashtag #NOSDA – National Odd Sock Day of Adventure – social media goes crazy with colourful socks on September 13th every year. This year will be even more colourful, and the hashtag will be #NOSDA10 to mark the occasion.
Revealing the results of the group’s efforts on Facebook yesterday, Michelle said:
“Every year we encourage you to wear your odd socks and whilst we want you do just that tomorrow we also wanted to do something different.
“We wanted to ‘yarn bomb’ Pontardawe & Alltwen. It’s beautiful, it makes people smile…it gets people talking. Our village is connected in wool!”
On the lampposts, trees, and gateposts of Alltwen and Pontardawe, and around the school gates, and most importantly, in Harry’s Park, the spectacular results of the everyday artists are out on display.
“I love it! Harry would love it! I’m so proud of everyone who contributed to this crazy project!”
Following Harry’s death at the tender age of five, Michelle and Christian have achieved some remarkable community feats in their son’s name.
They started up Harry’s Fund, which aimed to do two things. They wanted to support other families, and particularly siblings, who needed counselling and emotional support following bereavement.
They also wanted to build a park in Harry’s name, and with a huge collective effort they raised the funds to do just that, and the colourful play park was built near Harry’s home and school in Alltwen.
Nine years ago, the National Grid gifted the people of Alltwen a Christmas tree in Harry’s name. Sited on the triangle in the village, it was tiny when it arrived but has grown to be a huge landmark.
Each year, the village comes together to light the tree and it is a very popular event to mark the start of the festive season.
Speaking last night, Michelle concluded: “It has been so lovely getting to know the people in my village through devising this project. It’s about being a community together.
“Making something that was so tragic for not just us as a family but for everyone who knew us or didn’t know us into something that now does so much good.
“It’s provoking a possible message of hope and Harry’s memory will live on and will never be forgotten.”