Love and loss: More than 1,000 people buy steel 'forever flowers' in support of hospice

An array of colourful metal flowers is on display at Cardiff Castle to remember and celebrate the lives of people who have passed away.

More than a thousand 'forever flowers' have been purchased as a lasting tribute to a loved one, with many people saying the coronavirus pandemic has made their grief more acute.

The campaign supports the work of Cardiff City Hospice, which provides care to people with terminal or life-limiting illnesses, as well as helping their families.

Kerry Lewis is among those who has placed a flower at the castle. Kerry's husband Mike was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2013 and was cared for by City Hospice until he passed away in October 2014.

Kerry Lewis is supporting the 'Forever Flowers' campaign in memory of her husband Mike. Credit: Kerry Lewis

Kerry told ITV News: "Early in 2014 we had the fantastic news that Mike was clear of cancer.

"We were joyous - we celebrated. In fact, we booked four mini holidays to celebrate. Three months later, the cancer came back."

Kerry says she and Mike received "incredible" support from City Hospice, and has since become an active volunteer and fundraiser as she wants to give something back.

More than a thousand people have purchased a flower to celebrate a loved one. Credit: Cardiff City Hospice

Liz Andrews, chief executive officer at City Hospice, says the Forever Flowers campaign is a way of uniting people who have experienced loss during the pandemic.

"Many people have really been suffering with their grief," Liz said.

"They've been experiencing grief quite differently - perhaps they haven't been able to have a traditional funeral; they haven't been able to say goodbye to a loved one the way that they would have liked; they haven't had those social interactions to give them support.

"We've found that many people have been holding on to a time when they can come together to celebrate their loved ones - and this is what the Forever Flowers display provides."

The flowers are on display in the grounds of Cardiff Castle until 8 August. Credit: Cardiff City Hospice

City Hospice cares for hundreds of patients and their families at any one time - but as with many charities, the pandemic has made it more difficult to raise the vital funds needed for their work.

"It has been challenging at times - having to postpone events and campaigns, and the unknown really," said fundraising officer Daisy Magill.

"And just having to think outside the box - thinking of new, creative ideas. Putting on the Forever Flowers campaign has really helped that."

The flowers were individually made by Llandaff Garden Metalwork and the British Ironwork Centre.

The display is at Cardiff Castle until 8 August, when people can bring their purchased flower home to keep.