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Charity poppy hunt sculptor launches new Christmas star search around Forest

Michael Turner will be hiding stars for the charity Michael House
Michael Turner will be hiding stars for the charity Michael House

FOLLOWING the success of his pre-lockdown poppy hunt fundraiser, Lymington sculptor Michael Turner has turned his attention to a similar Christmas-themed event.

Michael is hiding a dozen festive stars across the New Forest in support of the homeless charity Michael House.

Announcing the charity treasure hunt today, Michael revealed he will be hiding handmade decorations each day from tomorrow to next Tuesday, 8th December. Two will be hidden on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Michael said: “My plan was to hide the stars around the Forest on the 12 days leading up to Christmas but then I realised that any money raised this week will be doubled as part of the Big Give fundraising initiative, so I decided to bring it forward.”

Similar to his annual poppy hunt, Michael will hide one of the engraved stars in a secret location and then post picture clues on his Instagram and Facebook pages. He then asks those lucky enough to find one to make a donation to Michael House.

Michael said: “Michael House is an amazing charity that does incredible work for homeless people. Last year I donated a sculpture for them to auction but this year I wanted to find a way to make it fun for as many people as possible – and also raise a bit of awareness about what they do.”

“Christmas especially can be a very desperate time for homeless people so if we can raise some money to make things a little easier then I will be very happy.”

Donations made to Michael House will doubled as part of a week-long Big Give fundraising drive which will see sponsors, businesses and corporate partners match-fund any money the charity receives.

Michael House opened as a night shelter in Boscombe in 1992, and since then the charity has grown to provide move-on opportunities to help those affected escape the cycle of homelessness. It currently accommodates 25 people in the main hostel and a move-on house next for eight additional people.

Chief executive Mark Horsford said: “As an independent charity we do have to do a lot of fundraising – so when an artist like Michael does something like this it gives us an amazing boost.

“Although we are based in Boscombe, we often help people originally from the New Forest and Christchurch who have been rough sleeping in Bournemouth.”

“Like many others this year has been particularly tough for us as the pandemic has impacted on our service. We had a number of shared bedrooms so our capacity has been reduced and we have found that many of the people we support have even more complexed needs as a result of the pandemic.”

To get involved with the festive star hunt follow Michael on Instagram @michaelturnerstudios or visit his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Michaelturnerstudios.

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