Inspiring Britain: Lorna Cunningham's ingenious 'memory elephants' helping families cherish loved ones

2017 has been a dark year for news - dominated by terror attacks, uncertainty in world politics and natural disasters. So ITV News has decided it is time to shine a light on some good news, telling the stories of inspirational people in communities across the country.

Lorna Cunningham is proof that the smallest ideas can have a huge impact.

After losing her husband Iain to cancer a few years ago, a friend encouraged her to go to a sewing group.

While there, she was immediately drawn to the pattern of an elephant and decided to make one for her grandchild.

Lorna realised that Iain's clothes were still in the wardrobe, and as well as being practical material to sew with - they could be a very personal link for her family.

So, she set about making elephants for family and friends - using bits of shirts and material that held special memories to create things to cherish forever.

Why elephants? Well, as the saying goes...elephants never forget!

And then, Lorna says, the idea snowballed from there.

The elephants are in high demand. Credit: ITV News

Iain spent his last few weeks in Trinity Hospice in Blackpool - where Lorna now volunteers.

When patients and families started to hear about what she'd been doing, they asked if she would make them for others too.

The idea has now gone from a small herd to hundreds of "memory elephants".

Lorna with her husband Iain (c). Credit: Family handout

As well as helping bereaved families to remember those they have lost, she has found they are allowing people to talk about a particular elephant in the room - the end of life.

She is adamant that everyone should be able to have an elephant, and humble about the legacy she has created for Iain and her family.

You can learn more about Lorna's story and the elephants she creates here.

The elephants are made with people's old clothes. Credit: ITV News

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