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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Women join forces to raise funds for worthy cause

It’s a project that has “touched a lot of people’s hearts” and gained momentum across Australia.

Each Wednesday, a large group of women gather at Timeless Textiles gallery in Hunter Street, Newcastle, to create art and work towards a worthy cause.

The group has spent the past 12 months making flowers out of fibre or textiles in the lead-up to International Women’s Day on Sunday 8 March.

The Fearless Flowers project was launched last year as part of a rally organised by Newcastle’s 2019 Citizen of the Year and former ABC Newcastle journalist Jill Emberson.

Ms Emberson, who passed away from ovarian cancer in December, campaigned for fairer funding to enable research on the disease and founded Pink Meets Teal – a Hunter-based community of women who want to see an increase to the five-year survival rate of just 46%.

More than 1,600 Australian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and about 1,000 die every year.

Fearless Flowers Coordinator Wilma Simmons said the project, which aimed to raise funds for ovarian cancer, was one in a long line of International Women’s Day initiatives.

“In the past, we have had a few different causes like supporting local women’s refuges and anti-domestic violence campaigns,” she said.

“There are two reasons for its existence – one is to raise funds for very worthy community programs and the other is to build a community around Timeless Textiles where people can feel very comfortable and welcome to sit and enjoy each other’s company and create.

“It’s about women finding themselves through being creative and it is a very safe and non-judgemental space for women as well.

”Ms Simmons said the project had gathered momentum from all over Australia, with groups from as far away as Darwin, Victoria and the Central Coast sending “boxes and boxes” of flowers to support the cause.

“I think the momentum has come because people have heard Jill’s story,” she said.

Anne Kempton with Wilma Simmons. Photo: Peter Stoop

“It certainly has helped maintain motivation – if that’s the word – to keep working on this project.”

As International Women’s Day approaches, Fearless Flowers has teamed up with City of Newcastle and a group called Makers and Traders to showcase displays in the shopfronts of 30 different businesses from Thursday 27 February.

The community is invited to come along and judge the best-dressed window up until Saturday 7 March as part of the competition.

An annual market will then take place the following day outside Timeless Textiles. The gallery’s owner, Anne Kempton, said it would be the biggest fundraiser under the Fearless Flowers campaign.

“There will be music, food, and a celebration of being women,” she said.

“Every cent from the market goes to a charity – this one is the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) for Nikola Bowden’s research, which is very cutting-edge about ovarian cancer treatment options.”

Search ‘Wednesday Group – Fearless Flowers’ on Facebook or go to timelesstextiles.com.au for more information or to donate.