Aug 21, 2020

Hand-carved crosses provide comfort to hospital patients

Residents from the Bethanie Esprit Retirement Village in Eaton, Bunbury, have provided comfort to patients at St John of God (SJOG) Hospital by donating hand-carved wooden crosses. 

Taz Armstrong and Vince Cooney came up with the generous idea at the Village’s Men’s Shed.

The friends carved the crosses from offcuts of WA Sheoak, Marri and various other timbers.

The crosses were so well received by the patients at SJOG Hospital in Bunbury that staff then sent a box to SJOG Pinelodge Clinic, a mental health facility in Dandenong, Victoria.

The hand carved crosses had such a profound impact on patients, that SJOG placed an order for more. Taz and Vince have now produced hundreds and the orders continue to come in.

The crosses have also found homes here in Western Australia, with a recent order of 100 being delivered to SJOG Hospitals in Midland and Subiaco.

Taz said he was delighted the crosses have brought so much joy and comfort to the patients.

“Vince started making the crosses first, then he taught me the process,” Taz said. 

“Each cross takes about 75 minutes to complete – from cutting the timber to applying the final coat of varnish.

“Between us, we’ve made about 500 crosses in the last few months and we’ll continue to make them as long as SJOG want us to.”

SJOG Pinelodge Clinic Pastoral Services Coordinator, Andrew Somerville, was deeply moved by Taz and Vince’s thoughtful gesture, and said the hand-carved crosses were treasured by all who received them.

 “A lady sat through a funeral of a loved one in one of our quiet rooms holding one of those crosses, and found so much comfort from it,” Andrew said. 

“These are really precious for patients here. My thanks to the makers of the crosses.”

Image: Taz and Vince with the finished product (supplied).

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