2239. Sarah Graham
Sarah Graham, from Hertfordshire, is an artist who ran a fundraising campaign in aid of ‘Samaritans’ by inviting people to put their own spin on her camper van artwork design.
Sarah has bipolar disorder for which she has been admitted to hospital when suffering from particularly debilitating episodes. Through these times, Sarah has drawn on the support of ‘Samaritans’, and wanted to find a way to say thank you to the charity that has helped her. Sarah has been painting camper van stencils for years, and decided to feature these in the launch of her ‘Samarivans’ fundraising campaign in 2023, securing sponsorship from a range of organisations to fund the canvases and other costs, and with the support of local North Herts District Council
Sarah received artwork from over 180 artists, as well as celebrities and individuals from the local community, which she has been auctioning to so far raise over £43,500. Sarah also advocates for mental health charities, and holds talks and workshops in schools to raise awareness.
In a personal letter to Sarah, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“I was moved to hear how you wanted to show your gratitude to the Samaritans for the support that they have given you in difficult times – and how you found a way to do that which is absolutely bursting with colour and creativity.
“By raising a phenomenal total of over £40,000, your ‘Samirivans’ campaign is helping the Samaritans to provide invaluable comfort and support to others in moments of need.”
Congratulating Sarah on her award, Bim Afolami, Sarah’s local MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, said:
“Sarah’s remarkable talent and zeal was poured into the ‘Samarivans’ fundraising campaign to attract fantastic support for the ‘Samaritans’ charity raising over £37,000. Sarah’s gifted and inspirational creative drive drew submissions for the charity art auction from across the arts world with ‘Samarivans’ camper vans skilfully rendered by the likes of Joe Lycett and Valerie Singleton. So contagious is her passion that I, too, applied what artistic skill I could muster for my own submission. Thank you, Sarah, for bringing this vibrant and uplifting project to life. This support for the ‘Samaritans’ work will provide a lifeline for many in their moments of need.”
“I am thrilled ‘Samarivans’ has been recognised by the Prime Minister and feel truly honoured to receive his Points of Light award. The project was a team effort, I couldn’t have done it without the support of the local branch of ‘Samaritans’, all of the incredible artists who gave their time and talent, the local companies who sponsored it, and my partner David. The money raised will help so many people and I’m grateful I had an opportunity to give back to the charity that saved my life.”
Find out more about ‘Samarivans’