The 30-year hobby which became a charity fundraising sensation

Christina Morton-Lake and some of her recycled furniture at the Baby Bereavement Support Service, York Road, Hartlepool.
Christina Morton-Lake and some of her recycled furniture at the Baby Bereavement Support Service, York Road, Hartlepool.

A behind-the-scenes stalwart is getting busy with the paint brush for hours at a time - to help provide vital finances for a charity.

Christina Morton-Lake has enjoyed revitalising old furniture as a hobby for more than 30 years.

Christina Morton-Lake and some of her recycled furniture at the Baby Bereavement Support Service, York Road, Hartlepool.

Christina Morton-Lake and some of her recycled furniture at the Baby Bereavement Support Service, York Road, Hartlepool.

But now, she does it as a lifeline for the Hartlepool Baby Bereavement Support Group, and she does it by devoting four hours every day to “upcycling”.

Christina breathes new life into everything from decorative wine bottles to whole dinner table sets. Her excellent work has been bought by clients from Peterlee to Redcar.

And that’s on top of all the other work she does to support the charity which provides counselling to the parents of tragic babies from its headquarters in York Road.

“I do this a lot at home,” said Christina. “I thought ‘what if I can get people to donate’ and it exploded from there.”

I do this a lot at home. I thought ‘what if I can get people to donate’ and it exploded from there. I particularly like anything in wood and I will spend four hours a day every day from Monday to Friday on this to raise funds.

Christina Morton-Lake

She said “anything and everything” could be upcycled from cups and saucers to huge pieces of furniture.

Once it has received Christina’s TLC, it goes on sale in the charity’s shop in York Road and helps to provide funds to keep the charity going.

“I particularly like anything in wood,” said Christina. “And I will spend four hours a day every day from Monday to Friday on this to raise funds for the charity. I don’t get a bean out of it.”

But this is no chore for the hard-working treasurer. “I love it. It was my hobby for years and I find it really therapeutic. I think we have come into this at the right time as shabby chic is in vogue.”

Christina Morton-Lake and some of her recycled furniture at the Baby Bereavement Support Service, York Road, Hartlepool.

Christina Morton-Lake and some of her recycled furniture at the Baby Bereavement Support Service, York Road, Hartlepool.

Although the group gets some NHS funding, it still needs support and welcomes donations.

It has two parts to its operation. One is the shop, which funds the service it provides, in ways including selling ‘shabby chic’ furniture.

The other is the counselling arm which the group provides to the parents of tragic babies from its headquarters.

The Hartlepool organisation has six committee members, as well as eight volunteers and befrienders. They do sterling work among that small team.

Christina Morton-Lake and some of her recycled furniture at the Baby Bereavement Support Service, York Road, Hartlepool.

Christina Morton-Lake and some of her recycled furniture at the Baby Bereavement Support Service, York Road, Hartlepool.

The counselling support can work by group representatives visiting people in their homes, although people are also welcome to come to the York Road centre.

Anyone who would like to find out more about the group, or who would like to give their support, can visit the website at http://www.baby-bereavement-support-group.org/ or call (01429) 231221, or visit the group’s base at 208 York Road.

Christina Morton-Lake and some of her recycled furniture at the Baby Bereavement Support Service, York Road, Hartlepool.

Christina Morton-Lake and some of her recycled furniture at the Baby Bereavement Support Service, York Road, Hartlepool.