Letter from Keith and Hazel Smith, Salisbury

JUNE 22 would have been the 28th birthday of our dear son George, it is also the day when we will begin to bring Focus in on Life to a close.

George passed away January 3, 2012, following a heart attack, and in April of that year Focus in on Life was established in George’s memory.

George was a horticulture student at Sparsholt College who was a keen photographer as well as a gardener.

We used George’s photographs to produce greetings cards which were sold to raise funds to support various projects which reflected George’s interests: horticulture, conservation, photography, and art.

We are immensely grateful to those who have printed, sold, and bought our cards, helped manage the website, given their time to help us achieve our goals in the different projects, invited us to events and helped with the administration of the charity.

We owe a great debt of gratitude to the trustees of Focus in on Life, including George’s grandmother who sadly passed away in July of last year. 

Through their constant support encouragement, and commitment they have enabled Focus in on Life to achieve as much as it has.

Many projects supported were school based, allotments were developed, polytunnels introduced, spiritual, quiet and science gardens were incorporated into playgrounds, we even planted an orchard.

One school received funding for cameras, another had four visits to a nature reserve, and several schools attended poetry and drama workshops through ‘Beginners Please’.

Friendship groups for the elderly enjoyed day trips to plant nurseries, tea rooms, minibus rides, a trip on the canal and a pub lunch.

We helped a young football team raise funds so that they could take part in a football tournament in Holland, and a college student was supported to attend a field studies trip.

A local college and school both received equipment and funding to help with vocational skills and tests.

We have had collaborative projects with Andover Trees United, Butterfly Conservation, and RSPB.

We are very grateful to two members of Butterfly Conservation and RSPB who visited many of the schools to whom we had provided bird and bat boxes, and butterfly kits.

The schools enjoyed presentations about the importance of habitat, correct siting of bird and bat boxes, and how to identify different butterflies and moths.

We have provided funds to help support the work of a local foodbank, a neighbourhood scheme, an artist providing outreach projects for the mental health charity, Mind, and a local artist to install a piece of artwork in a church as part of the Salisbury Art Trail.

The amazing support we have received has meant that once Focus in on Life finally ends, we will have given away approximately £30,000, through in excess of ninety grants.

We are very grateful that we have had the opportunity to commemorate our dear son in such a life affirming manner.

Thank you.