Giant Syria heart coming to Stroud
A GIANT heart made up of more than 2,000 handmade flags is to be displayed in a field near Stroud in a show of solidarity with the Syrian people and to raise money for refugees fleeing the country's brutal civil war.
With the help of friends, family and an army of volunteers, Stroud filmmaker Jimmy Edmonds and his wife Jane Harris plan to install the heart at a ‘prominent location’ close to the town on Saturday, September 21.
The couple are set to receive the flags from their friends, the Cornish artists Caroline Cleave and Franca Westaway, who decided to create the Have a Heart for Syria art installation to support Oxfam’s Syria Crisis Appeal.
More than two million Syrians have fled their country and up to four million are now internally displaced in what the UN is describing as the worst refugee crisis for 20 years.
Oxfam has already helped over 200,000 Syrians and the aid agency is aiming to reach up to 650,000 more with shelter, food and water as soon as it can.
Jane, a psychotherapist and counsellor, and her husband Jimmy, who has helped produce several documentaries about the Middle East, said their work and personal experiences of loss helped them empathise with those suffering bereavement in Syria’s ongoing civil war, which has now claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people.
"We became involved after visiting Caroline and her husband Jon in Cornwall not long after the chemical weapons attack in Damascus," said Jimmy.
"Caroline explained about their Heart for Syria installation and it immediately struck a chord with us.
"When Caroline impassioned about what such an exodus this might mean for her home town we immediately thought of Stroud – I could see the gun emplacements on the hills surrounding our town and the streams of people trying to escape through our beautiful Five Valleys – so it was but a short step to offering to help install the Heart for Syria in our area."
Oxfam will announce the precise location in Stroud at which the solidarity artwork will be displayed at midday on Friday, September 20.
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