Artist Anita and Yorkshire Cancer Research vow to Give Cancer The Boot with Tree of Life welly installation at Castle Howard

All’s welly that starts welly: Harrogate artist Anita Bowerman launches her Give Cancer The Boot installation at Castle Howard

BOOTIFUL. Harrogate artist Anita Bowerman has launched a wellington boot-themed art installation at Castle Howard to highlight Yorkshire Cancer Research’s annual fundraising campaign, Give it Some Welly.

The 191 stainless-steel wellies, shimmering in the sunlight in a Lime Walk tree to the side of the Atlas Fountain, represent the 191,000 Yorkshire people who have “given the cancer the boot” over the past 25 years or live with it.

The mission of the independent charity is to save lives in Yorkshire, helping people to avoid and survive the disease by improving the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer in the region.  

Anita’s “Tree of Life” sculpture on the South Front of the Castle Howard grounds will be open to the public until August 3, drawing attention to the charity’s aim to raise £10 million this year to “help more people give cancer the boot for good”.

In particular, Yorkshire Cancer Research is urging people across Yorkshire to hold fundraising events on Yorkshire Day, Saturday, August 1, whether by wanging wellies, wearing them or baking welly-themed cakes.

Anita, the paper-cut designer and painter who runs the Dove Tree Art Gallery and studio in Harrogate, is honoured to be involved in this “very worthwhile project”.

“I hope the piece helps people consider the work that still needs to be done to continue to increase cancer survival rates in Yorkshire,” says artist Anita Bowerman

“I felt instantly inspired to create this boot design, cut out from stainless-steel and featuring Yorkshire Cancer Research’s logo of a rose,” she says. “I love the idea of 191 shiny boots on this ‘tree of life’, glinting in the light on a fir tree in the grounds in front of the majestic, iconic Castle Howard, and I hope it brings lots of joy to those that see it. 

“I would like it to celebrate all the people in Yorkshire who have survived cancer in the past 25 years, and the people that will continue to survive in the years to come.”

The work of Yorkshire Cancer Research has resonance for Anita. “My engineer brother, Mason Small, has helped me create these 15cm-high boots – which took three men three days to polish by hand at his Guiseley head office – and finding a cure for cancer is particularly relevant to us as both our parents were diagnosed with it. Our dad had breast and skin cancer; our mum had ovarian cancer, from which she died,” she says.

“I hope the piece helps people consider the work that still needs to be done to continue to increase survival rates in Yorkshire and will help Yorkshire Cancer Research to continue its great work across the region.”

She is delighted by the choice of tree for the welly installation. “I was approached by Yorkshire Cancer Research to do a piece of ‘land art’ for the Give it Some Welly campaign, and I’m so pleased the wellies are hanging in a Cedrus Deodara, a divine tree from the Himalayas, worshipped by Hindus,” says Anita. “I love how it is now decorated for summer, with the stainless-steel boots glistening like mobiles in the summer light.

Dr Kathryn Scott, chief executive of Yorkshire Cancer Research, left, artist Anita Bowerman and the Hon Nicholas Howard, owner of Castle Howard, at the Give Cancer The Boot launch

“They look stunning in this beautiful environment, where I wanted to reflect such a high-quality house and the high quality of the work done by Yorkshire Cancer Research.”

Anita’s “Tree of Life” has personal significance too for the Hon. Nicholas Howard, owner of Castle Howard. “I have a connection with it in that I’ve had prostate cancer myself and I’m in the middle of booting it out’. I’ve had targeted radiotherapy and I’m now having hormone treatment, with my readings now being very low, so it really rang a bell with me when Yorkshire Cancer Research contacted me,” he says.

Castle Howard presents spectacular Christmas tree decorations each winter and puts up a tree at Easter too decorated with hand-painted eggs from Salzburg. Now, Anita’s summer tree complements those annual festive celebrations. “It’s always lovely to see an artist reflecting something real in their work, which these 191 boots do, and I love how the tree can be seen from afar to draw people to it because it’s glinting in the sun,” says Nicholas.

“The wellies are just the right size too, when sometimes these things can be strident, but these are lovely objects.”

Given his own experience, Nicholas is keen that the welly installation should play its part in generating much-needed funds for Yorkshire Cancer Research”. “Research is so important, and it would also help if people would get tested early; that would help with treating cancer and that’s something that everyone can do, particularly as they get older,” he says.

“It’s so important that regular testing and inspections go on, and it’s so important to get that message across, especially when men sometimes have that macho attitude that it won’t happen to them, but it’s far better to be tested regularly. They do that with a car, so why not with themselves?”

“Too many people are still having their lives cut short by cancer,” says Dr Kathryn Scott, pictured with artist Anita Bowerman

Also attending the launch was Dr Kathryn Scott, chief executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research, who says: “While it’s positive that survival rates are improving, too many people are still having their lives cut short by cancer. Delays in diagnosis and treatment during the Coronavirus pandemic means we need to do all we can to minimise the impact for people in Yorkshire.

“In the past few months, life has come with increasing challenges and apprehension about what the future might hold, so the continued support of people in Yorkshire means more to us than ever before.

“With our ambitious target to fund £10 million of world-leading research to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer every year, we need the people of Yorkshire to join us in raising life-changing funds, so we can continue our work in helping more people give cancer the boot for good.”

Kathryn says that in these Covid-19 times, delays in diagnosis and treatment of cancer are inevitable. “There will be people with worrying signs that will not have contacted their GP at this time, but early diagnosis is always our message, because cancer is predominantly easier to treat, the earlier the diagnosis,” she stresses.

“We can have a 90 per cent success rate with treating some cancers when diagnosed early, but less than ten per cent when it’s diagnosed late on.”

Yorkshire Cancer Research wants to fund more research and more clinical trials. “They’re shown to give people a better quality of life and improve survival rates, and we want to make Yorkshire a beacon of success in treating cancer,” says Kathryn.

Shining example: A close-up of the Yorkshire Cancer Research rose on one of Anita Bowerman’s 191 wellies

“In clinical trials, we’re rising fast in the national statistics: 9,000 people participated in clinical trials last year funded by Yorkshire and Humber clinical research networks, putting us second on the list.”

To support Give It Some Welly, you can download a free fundraising pack at: ycr.org.uk/welly.

Yorkshire Cancer Research and Castle Howard request you follow UK Government guidelines to stay safe when visiting the installation or organising any fundraising activities. Those guidelines can be found at: gov.uk/coronavirus.

Did you know?

Yorkshire Cancer Research was founded in 1925 and is the largest independent regional cancer charity in England.

In Yorkshire, 594 people are diagnosed with cancer every week.

Yorkshire Cancer Research’s mission is for 2,000 more people to survive cancer every year in Yorkshire.

Yorkshire Cancer Research works in partnership with researchers, clinicians, the NHS, public health bodies and other charities to fund innovative work in prevention, early diagnosis and treatment.

Based at Grove Park Court, off Skipton Road, Harrogate, Yorkshire Cancer Research provides research funding for the University of York, University of Leeds, University of Sheffield and Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust.

For more information, visit yorkshirecancerresearch.org.uk.

Castle Howard grounds and gardens to reopen with new safety measures

Blue sky, thinking of returning: Castle Howard’s grounds and gardens are reopening from June 1

THE Castle Howard gardens and grounds, near York, will reopen from next week with new health and safety measures in place in these continuing Covid-19 times.

Castle Howard members will be able to visit from Wednesday, June 3, and then all visitors, from Monday, June 8.

All visitors will be required to pre-book tickets online via the Castle Howard website, for capacity management purposes, and will then self-scan at the ticket office to enable contactless entry to the gardens. 

New safety measures have been put in place to reflect the Government’s social-distancing guidelines and full information can be found on the Castle Howard website.

In the first weeks of opening, the focus will be on allowing visitors back into the gardens with limited facilities. Reopening of outlets will be reintroduced over the coming weeks when the necessary systems and risk assessments are in place and team members are trained up to operate each outlet safely.

Access to the gardens will exclude the playground at this stage, but will include takeaway catering outlets, and the farm shop and garden centre remain open daily. 

Abbigail Ollive, head of marketing and sales, says: “The team at Castle Howard have been working hard behind the scenes to put our reopening plans into action and we are delighted that we’ll be welcoming back members and visitors over the next couple of weeks.

“The safety of our employees and our visitors is paramount, so we’d advise anyone planning to visit to read the guidelines on our website and pre-book a ticket online. The world might have changed significantly, but the stunning Yorkshire landscape and open spaces that we can offer at Caste Howard have not changed and we know how pleased visitors will be to have access once again to the gardens.” 

Castle Howard reopening dates and times:

For the first five days of re-opening, from June 3 to 7, Castle Howard will open the gardens only for Friends/Members between 10am and 5pm. 

From June 8, daily opening hours for all visitors will be 10am to 5pm; the gardens will close at 6pm.

From June 15, Castle Howard will offer Members-only entry hours from 9am to 10am and from 5pm to 6pm. The gardens will close at 7pm. 

Booking for the general public will go live on Tuesday, June 2. To book, visit castlehoward.co.uk.

Go compare! 2021 bill for Castle Howard’s music weekend will be exactly the same as 2020 postponed shows, Wynne Evans et al

Welsh tenor Wynne Evans, from the Go Compare adverts, performing at The Proms Spectacular at Castle Howard last summer. Picture: Charlotte Graham

CASTLE Howard is postponing this summer’s live music weekend until 2021.

Running from August 21 to 23, the 2020 bill would have comprised the al fresco Proms Spectacular with Welsh tenor Wynne Evans, Café Mambo Live and Queen Symphonic.

“The summer spectacular weekend was set to draw audiences from all over the country to enjoy a varied programme of music, from Land Of Hope And Glory to Ibiza chill to Bohemian Rhapsody,” today’s official statement says. “Now the whole weekend will be picked up and placed on the equivalent weekend next August.”

The North Yorkshire country house management team and event partners LPH Concerts have taken the decision after “much deliberation and careful consideration of the advice from the British government around the Coronavirus pandemic” and its prohibitive social-distancing measures.

The Hon Nicholas Howard, of Castle Howard, near York, says: “It is incredibly disappointing to have to cancel any events, particularly outdoor concerts for which people plan ahead for many months, but it is absolutely the right thing to do in current circumstances – the safety of our visitors and staff is paramount.

No fireworks at Castle Howard this summer after the postponement of the August live music weekend. Picture: Charlotte Graham

“The artists due to perform share our disappointment but have all agreed to come back next summer to delight the Yorkshire audiences at Castle Howard’s natural amphitheatre. Something to look forward to, if a little further into the future.”

LPH Concerts say: “While lockdown measures are being slowly lifted across the UK, it is with sadness that we are announcing these postponements. In the background, we have been studying guidance and taking advice from the industry safety professionals.


“As independent event producers, we have a passion for the music and events we produce, however the most important factor is you, our loyal customers. Many of you over the years have become friends and supporters and as such your safety and enjoyment of our events is our priority.

“We also have a loyal, hardworking team and suppliers to safeguard too and therefore we have made the difficult decision to postpone until 2021.

“The good news is that the artistes, Castle Howard and our suppliers are fully behind us and…we’ll be back with a heightened spring in our production for you all to enjoy. Stay safe and we hope we will see you before too long.”

All ticket holders will be receiving an email shortly from their point of purchase with further information.

Castle Howard and its grounds remain closed to the public, with the team closely following government advice so that it can reopen promptly with appropriate safety measures in place once lockdown is lifted.

We’re expecting the gardens and grounds to be first to open, as exploring the outdoors and getting lots of fresh air appears to be very much in line with recommendations for safe things to do,” says Nicholas Howard.

“We’ll continue to monitor when and how we might be able to re-open the house in due course. In the meantime, our farm shop continues to provide locals with fresh fruit, vegetables and butchery staples, while the garden centre has now also re-opened with social-distancing measures in place, so those staying at home can give their green spaces a bit of a boost.

“We would like to thank you all for your patience and support during these difficult times.”

For more information on the farm shop and garden centre, or to keep up to date with the latest Castle Howard news, stay alert at castlehoward.co.uk.