The Big Give Christmas Challenge is our annual fundraiser to support our Art for All by All learning programme, which follows the ethos of our founders, George and Mary Watts. The programme enables thousands of people across Surrey to access art, who would not ordinarily have this opportunity.
Watts Cemetery Chapel is probably the most notable representation of the Watts’s legacy. In 1895, Mary began evening classes on Thursday nights for members of the local community and taught them how to make the Chapel decorations; an idea sparked by her husband, George Watts. Over 70 locals contributed to the creation of the Chapel with the assistance of Mr George Redmayne, an architect who overlooked the building and helped design the structure.
Mary Watts and community working on Watts Chapel
We wanted to reflect the Watts legacy with our Big Give campaign, and the decorations on the tree were inspired by this. The terracotta ornaments were handmade and hand painted by our wonderful group of volunteers, which are are also on display in our Shop and are available to buy.
Other handmade and hand painted decorations which are made from paper and card were created by the Halow Project who have been an Art For All partner since 2017. They are a charity based in Guildford which supports young people ages 16 - 35 with learning disabilities and autism.
We were incredibly fortunate to have The Times photographer, Richard Pohle come down to the Watts Chapel to document such a magnificent moment, and have it shared with the nation.
We would love to give a huge thank you to Hans Christmas Andersen for donating their Christmas trees to us, our volunteers and the Halow Project for creating such wonderful handmade decorations, as well as Ruth Davis of All for Love London for donating so many decorations for our site. We wouldn’t have been able to make this happen without your support.
For one week only, all donations will be matched to support our learning programme and enable us to provide artist-led creative learning for local people who would not ordinarily have this opportunity.
For every £1 you give to our charity between 28 November and 5 December, your donation will be matched by another £1. That means every online donation will be doubled.