Helping people with brain injuries lands Huntingdon woman award nomination

Beth Spalding and an example of her artwork, inspired by her trip to India. Beth Spalding and an example of her artwork, inspired by her trip to India.

Friday, April 25, 2014
8:20 AM

A Huntingdon artist who volunteered for a charity helping people with brain injuries after suffering seizures herself has been nominated for an annual award.

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Bethany Spalding, of Hartford Road, is a relief worker for Headway Cambridgeshire, and runs regular art sessions for its clients.

It was while the 23-year-old was studying fine art at Chichester University that, out of nowhere, she had her first seizure.

“It happened out of the blue,” she said. “I saw how things can suddenly change a lot.

“I have seizures every week. I don’t know when they’re going to happen so it takes away a lot of independence.”

Had she wanted to, living on her own was no longer an option. Driving was out of the question and she had to give up learning to ride a motorbike.

As a result, Beth was drawn to Headway, which specialises in helping people improve lives after brain injury, and volunteered to help with the art sessions. “I often find people say I can’t draw or I can’t do art,” she said. “So I encourage them to keep trying. As time goes on they start to show a much more positive point of view and get stuck in, doing photography, drawing or painting.”

Headway was so impressed with Beth, who was a St Peter’s School pupil, that she was offered a job.

And it was Clare Hobbs, a Headway senior group facilitator, who put her forward for the Linx Young People of the Year award.

The awards go to unsung heroes aged 10 to 25 who live, study or work in Cambridgeshire. Winners take a share of a £2,000 prize pot and the same value as their prize is donated to a good cause of their choice.

Beth, who also volunteered while travelling in India where she taught art and English and designed puppets to use in HIV awareness plays, was said to have shared her passion for art with clients who enjoyed her friendly approach.

INFORMATION: Do you know somebody who deserves the title Young Person of the Year? 
To nominate, visit www.yopey.org or write, enclosing a stamped-addressed envelope, to YOPEY, Woodfarm Cottage, Bury Road, Stradishall, Newmarket CB8 8YN for a form.

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