Moving tributes to NHS and free wellbeing activities at Weston festival
- Credit: Lee Allen Photography
A festival to promote health and wellbeing and pay tribute to NHS staff and care workers during the pandemic is coming to Weston next month.
Weston Arts and Health Week runs from September 18-26, and during the week, there will be a number of moving events to give people the chance to remember lost loved ones during Covid.
In Memoriam – an immersive artwork by Luke Jerram – will be installed on the beach next to the Grand Pier throughout the festival.
The poignant flag installation will give people the chance to visit to remember all that has been lost during the pandemic. It was also made in tribute to all the NHS staff and care workers who have helped others during the crisis.
In Memoriam was commissioned by University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) and Culture Weston, and has visited communities all over the UK before returning to Weston.
To launch the event, a contemplative procession entitled Here For You will see NHS staff, care workers and volunteers take part in a torch-lit beach walk from Weston Hospital to the In Memoriam artwork on Saturday night.
As the sun sets, they will light an evocative installation of flickering flames created by Somerset-based fire artist Mike Jones of The Pyro Studio.
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Weston Art and Health Week has been organised by UHBW and Culture Weston to give people time and space to reflect on the past 18 months and boost health and wellbeing.
The festival features a multitude of free arts and health activities, led by creative practitioners and health and care worker professionals. The events cover a range of interests, from poetry and drawing, health panel discussions and artist chats, to bike rides, dance and outdoor events at allotments, parks, gardens, the beach and hospital grounds.
Anna Farthing, arts programme director at UHBW said: “Over the past 18 months, people in the health sector and in wider society have felt the impacts of multiple losses without having been able to pause, reflect and recover.
"Thanks to funding support from Arts Council England, and our partnership with Culture Weston, during Weston Arts + Health Week we can offer safe spaces for people to process their feelings, however complex and conflicted they may be. We will also celebrate the many creative opportunities to engage with nature and build communities that can restore wellbeing and sustain health as we look to the future.”
The festival finale will take place at In Memoriam on Weston beach on September 26, when the UHBW NHS choir will perform ‘A Song for In Memoriam’, which has been specially commissioned by local composer David Ogden for the event.
Full event details, timings and details about how to take part can be found at cultureweston.org.uk/listings/weston-arts-health-week/