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Published on:21 JULY 2021

Article tags:Centre News

Article tags:Charity

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Two artists based at THAT Gallery in Festival Place have drawn together to help a local care home resident celebrate her 104th birthday.

Nellie Barton has lived at St Thomas Care Home in Basingstoke since 2018, and turned 104 this June.

St Thomas’ activities coordinator Tracey Mercer contacted THAT Gallery, an independent gallery showcasing the work of local artists at Festival Place, to ask if they could help make Nellie’s birthday extra special.

Artists Rachel Davis and Fatima Pantoja were delighted to accept, and set about creating two very special birthday presents.

“Fatima drew Nellie’s portrait, and I painted her a vase of her favourite flowers,” said Rachel.

“We were both invited to the birthday party at St Thomas’, and we got to give Nellie her presents.

“It was lovely to meet the family, the care staff – and of course, the birthday girl herself.

“It was a very special afternoon for us representing THAT Gallery, and we were so pleased St Thomas’ felt they could call on us to help make Nellies’ birthday special.

“The mayor was there, too, and it was clear to see how much Nellie means to everyone.”

This is not the first time Nellie has shared her birthday celebrations with the community.

For her 103rd birthday in 2020, St Thomas turned to Facebook and asked if it would be possible to arrange for birthday cards to be sent to Nellie as pandemic restrictions meant she would not be able to receive visitors.

Surpassing all expectations, Nellie received 450 birthday cards, personalised cakes and cupcakes, Morrisons donated a cream tea for all residents and staff, and she was given a specially created balloon sculpture.

FP Marketing Manager, Emily Palmer said: “THAT Gallery is a valued part of Festival Place. It hosts local artists selling original pieces of art, prints and sculpture, and is a source of real community and culture for Basingstoke.

“It’s wonderful to see two of the artists creating such lovely work to help make Nellie’s birthday such a special occasion.”

© Festival Place 2021