The Daniel Barnett Arts Foundation aims to raise money in order to inspire individuals to be creative by providing workshops, fundraising events and support to people who may need help due to an illness or challenge in their life.
Since 2015 we have been working in partnership with the Cancer Trust Hospitals across Yorkshire to deliver art workshops to young people and their families who have been affected by cancer. Our aim is for these workshops to give focus and purpose to each individual taking part and allow them to freely express themselves in a fun, safe environment.
Pictured below are the The Daniel Barnett Arts Foundation committee, from left to right, Kerry Hardy (Vice Chair Person), Diane Barnett (Chair Person), Dan Stone (Marketing Publicity), Julia Millea (Treasurer), Sue Ryder (Fundraiser Coordinator) and Alex Fergusson (Communication Leader).
I’m Diane, Daniel’s mum and this is the story of our charity, and our lives we shared together which made me recognise the importance of creative expression and how moments in time are so precious.
Daniel was my first born, a baby who taught me to become a mum; little did I know, at the time, he would teach me so much more. Like all mothers, children bring lots of challenges, in Daniel’s case, his illness brought pain, fear and uncertainties, reaching depths I never knew existed.
Life itself entered a whole new meaning, for both of us but the challenges made our relationship really special. His strength was amazing and it gave me the determination to succeed whatever life would throw at me.
Daniel is the reason why this charity exists, and the reason why my heart lives for it.
Daniel’s talent was evident from an early age. He loved to draw and paint and when he was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 14 it didn’t change the person he was in any way. Despite undergoing extensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy he continued to set himself goals and produced beautiful pieces of art which I cherish today. He was very creative and also played the saxophone which he got so much enjoyment out of. Our story is about how he inspired me, as he helped me to recognise the importance of time together, being creative and passionate about what life has to offer, even if your time here is short.
Throughout Daniel’s life, he was very driven by his creative self. It allowed him to lose himself inside his being, it helped him enormously. As a mother seeing your child escape from the reality of an illness, even if it was just for a short time, was a real comfort and joy to me. Being with him and experiencing the importance of creative expression, gave me the courage to set up this charity, to give this opportunity to others so that hopefully they can experience the same feelings of escapism and fulfilment as we did.
Art is an expression, a record of our journey, a moment in time and space, a keepsake for life which no one can take away. We make the brush strokes, the marks upon the painting, it is part of our expression and who we are and that we exist.The charity is for all those people that need time and space to be together. A space to be creative which allows individuals to be free of the stresses and strains of their illness/worries and to be in the moment, just concentrating on the activity or the task in hand which enables us to have fun and get through the day.
These interactions are shared with family, friends and loved ones. It does not have any connection to being at all brilliant or talented at art, the only thing which is important is the process, the taking part, freely expression who we are and allowing ourselves to just be.
My aim for the charity is to deliver art workshops all across the country in many spaces where caring takes place. I know that these creative workshops are vital to the wellbeing of these children and their families and a great way of having a fun time together.
I have been really lucky to have shared my life with Daniel, who was a great teacher and left me with a beautiful legacy of paintings as a testimony to his love for life. I hope that others will be able to create beautiful pieces of creative work with their own children and to inspire others to continue on their journey of life.
Thank you for taking to time to read this.
During all of my time spent for endless hours with forms, talking on the phone, setting up fund raising events to now becoming a registered charity, I was and still am driven to succeed.
Please help in any way that you can, and give in any way you can to support our charity. To make a donation, please click here.