Listening Lady sculpture unveiled
The care of cancer patients is set to be enhanced thanks to the mother of a woman who died from the killer disease last year.
The unveiling of the Listening Lady at the Marie Curie Cancer Care hospice in Belfast will mark a milestone in the history of the care centre.
Created by Scottish sculptor David Annand, the Listening Lady will serve as a resting place for patients and visitors at the hospice.
The work of art forms part Marie Curie's Living Rooms Appeal project and received a significant donation from Bangor woman Muriel Roberts, whose daughter Geraldine, was cared for at the hospice before her death from cancer in January 2006.
She said: "Geraldine was 60 years old when she died last January and I know that during her time at Marie Curie she found such peace and contentment - it became a home from home. It means the world to me that her memory will live on in the place that took such good care of her. Geraldine was such a great listener and a very warm person so the name of the sculpture is a tribute to her very nature - The Listening Lady even wears a pendant with Geraldine's initials, GR.
"I can't quite believe the change in the hospice since last year. The Living Rooms Appeal has transformed the hospice facilities and it's now such a bright and uplifting environment. It makes me so proud to see it in all its splendour today and know that Geraldine's legacy helped make a difference to other people's lives by contributing to the Living Rooms Appeal and making the hospice a better place for them to stay."
The National Lottery and Arts Council for Northern Ireland also helped fund the piece.
The seat is also inscribed with a short poem penned by Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney.
It reads: "Still yourself, take time, be at rest. Enter the circle, unalone, a guest."
Mr Heaney said he was delighted to be part of the project.
He said: "I was honoured to be invited to provide a short poem that is inscribed where the listening lady sits. My words were inspired by the word 'hospice' which comes from the Latin hospes, meaning both 'a host' and 'a guest'. The words allude to that deeply lodged ethic of two way trust that is fundamental to Marie Curie Cancer Care.
"Whoever shares the seat with David Annand's empathetic listener has not only entered the circular form of the sculpture, they have also entered the circle of care, trust and mutual support that makes Marie Curie Cancer Care hold such a special place in our society."
To find out more about the Living Rooms Appeal go to www.mariecurie.org.uk/livingrooms or ring 028 9088 2044.