The long-awaited launch of the Walk of Hearts and Stars took place on a cold and damp evening last Thursday – honouring local residents during the pandemic.
With a Stay at Home Lantern parade winding around Knowle West streets to mark the occasion – the Walk unveiled at Filwood Community Centre and on the Broadway celebrates and remembers local people.
Led by the Ambling Band, the procession on 29 October included lanterns created by pupils from Christ the King and Greenfield Schools during workshops with Alan May from Arts Enlarge – all featuring their faces.
Funded by Filwood Fantastic, The Walk of Hearts and Stars is a joint project between Knowle West Media (KWMC) and Filwood Community Centre – replacing the usual annual ceremony which honours volunteers.
The knitted hearts displayed in the window of re:store on Filwood Broadway are to commemorate those who lost their lives during COVID-19 – and were unable to have a funeral or a memorial service.
There are also other local people remembered for their long and dedicated service to the community. They sit alongside a knitted picnic scene created by resident Julie Atkinson.
Some of their names were also displayed on a giant lantern carried around in the procession.
One of those honoured is Ted Bowden, the former Chair of Inns Court Resident’s Association (ICRA) who died only a short while ago.
He was nominated by the Inns Court Community and Family Centre which said: “We at Inns Court thank you for many years of dedicated service to the centre, the Sprint and the local area. Good night. God bless. All our love to his wife Diane and the family.”
Another heart is dedicated to Floss Moulton, who was on a number of boards including Knowle West Development Trust and Knowle West Health Association.
She was nominated by her grandson Chavez who said: “Florence was a woman ahead of her time. A strong and proud woman whose generosity knew no bounds. She was the heart and soul of her family and her spirit was uplifting to anyone she met.”
Inspired by the Hollywood Walk of Fame – the 28 stars are mounted on poles in the courtyard at Filwood Community Centre.
They celebrate the efforts of volunteers, key workers and neighbours as well as friends and family members “going above and beyond to make a difference and support the local community” both over the years and especially during the pandemic.
They represent 48 people and places who have been nominated by local residents – which include Christ the King and Oasis Connaught Schools, Square Food Foundation cookery school and local charity re:work.
Hannah Llewellin was selected for a star for her tireless volunteering during the COVID-19 outbreak.
One of her nominees, Julia Williams said: “…Since March Hannah has done so much volunteering and helped people with food, information, gardening, shopping and stopping to have a chat and be there for residents she is supporting.
“Nothing has been too much trouble. Amazing and thank you Hannah.”
Hannah said she was “honoured” to receive a star.
She told The Knowledge: “…Meeting so many local residents through volunteering has been a joy, albeit in such uncertain and often upsetting circumstances.
“I’m always greeted with gratitude and a smile from residents. I hope with the support of Knowle West Alliance and the many other wonderful volunteers we can continue to support our community through these tough times.”
Tina Gardiner was nominated by Tessa Bide who said: “She is my neighbour and is the glue that keeps the street together. Very caring, generous and selfless, she’d do anything for anyone.”
Key workers included the Patel brothers who run Glyn Vale Shop and have gone out of their way to help more vulnerable members of the community.
During lockdown they took home cooked meals to the elderly during lockdown and also delivered groceries to people who couldn’t get out.
Some of the residents honoured are long-term volunteers who had won Life Time Achievement Awards at former Hearts and Stars ceremonies.
One of these is Graham Blacker, a current trustee of Filwood Hope advice centre and one of Knowle West’s longest serving volunteers – with some 67 years of service behind him.
All the Hearts and Stars were created by residents at Knowle West Media Centre’s KWMC: The Factory – a making and production space at Filwood Green Business Park.
The hearts showcase their talents in knitting, sewing and crochet – and local people have also worked with Art & Energy to create light-up solar panel art for the stars – so they glow at night.
Fiona Dowling from KWMC who headed the work said she was delighted the project had been so well received.
She said the ‘Stay At Home’ lantern parade had been a “brilliant way” to launch the project with residents on their doorsteps “pointing out familiar faces and names on the lanterns” as they went past.
She added: “The finished stars look so colourful lighting up the courtyard of Filwood Community Centre and really showcase the artistic talents of local people, as well as marking the hard work and community spirit of so many dedicated local people who have been nominated…
“And the knitted Hearts and Julie Atkinson’s wonderful knitted picnic scene bring warmth and creativity to the windows of re:store.
“I’m so pleased with how the project has turned out and hope that local people will enjoy seeing The Walk of Hearts and Stars for months to come.”
To receive a digital or printed copy listing all the Hearts and Stars nominated email: email@example.com and to see more about how the project developed visit the Walk of Hearts and Stars Facebook Page.