Giant artwork created with 300 blankets to highlight the Winter Warmth Appeal

14th November 2022

Three hundred blankets were used to create this giant image of a pensioner trying to keep warm.

The 24ft long artwork beside Hadrian’s Wall used 300 blankets – one for each life lost to the cold in a Cumbrian winter.

It was created to highlight Cumbria Community Foundation’s annual Winter Warmth Appeal on Saturday at Birdoswald Roman Fort.

The charity’s chief executive, Andy Beeforth, said: “This giant artwork reminds us that Cumbria may have stunningly picturesque landscape, but it is also a place where thousands of older folk struggle to stay warm during its winters.

“Our landscape can be as bleak as it is beautiful and, on average, in a bad winter an extra 300 people in Cumbria will lose their lives to the effects of the plummeting temperatures. We know for every one degree drop in temperature, the mortality rate increases, even in relatively mild winters.”

“We know that each of the blankets used in this artwork represents a life that will be lost because of the cold. They are someone’s mum or dad, gran or grandad, brother or sister, husband or wife. All lives that could be saved,” he added.

And this year the cost of living crisis along with rising fuel costs has prompted Colin Cox, Cumbria’s Director of Public Health to warn of a ‘major public health threat’ over the coming months.

“Difficulty in heating houses leads directly to increased lung and heart health problems and contributes to the higher rate of hospitalisations and deaths that we see over the winter, so I’m particularly worried about what might happen this year,” he said.

The image was created by Cumbrian artist Abby Kilfedder and took four hours to put together much to the amazement of walkers who chanced upon it while visiting Hadrian’s Wall. “It has been a brilliant project to work on. Hopefully it will really raise the profile of the Winter Warmth Appeal,” she said.

All the blankets are now being washed and donated to Age UK to be distributed to older folk around Cumbria.

Cumbria Community Foundation has run the appeal every year since it was launched in 2010 raising more than £1.5m to date.

This year the Foundation has set a higher target of £500,000. Any donations made between 7th November to 9th December 2022 will be doubled with match funding thanks to generous match funding champions: WCF Ltd, the John Laing Charitable Trust, Sellafield Ltd, Cumbria County Council, Roselands Trust, Nuclear Waste Services, The Johnson Fund, Brian and Ann Clark Fund, The Harvey Family Fund, The Hadfield Trust, Rural Getaways Ltd and private donors.

Andy Beeforth said: “Because of the severity of the circumstances this year we have set our highest ever target – £500,000.

“We know that Cumbrians are immensely generous, the Winter Warmth Appeal raised a record amount last year. I hope we can rise to the exceptional challenge this winter and smash the new target.
“Please donate if you can. Let’s not let the cold and the cost-of-living crisis bring misery and the risk of death to vulnerable older members of our community.”

How to support the Winter Warmth :
You can donate online using this link.

Alternatively, Cumbria Community Foundation also accepts donations by cheque or phone. To make a phone donation, please ring 01900 825760 between the hours of 9am-5pm Mon-Fri.