Handmade New Forest

Beautiful gifts and home accessories sourced from local suppliers, crafted from the heart and hand made with love

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A sad time for Handmade but a lot of love was grown

February 21, 2015

Sadly, at the start of October 2014, Chris - founding member of Handmade, husband to Kathy and much loved shop owner - was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer.  This devastating news sent us into a spinning whirlwind and forced them to take a back seat in the running of the shop to concentrate on making the most of whatever time we had left.  Mixed emotions made us feel firstly blessed that so many of our crafters were prepared to step forward and volunteer to keep the shop running nut secondly so confused asking 'Why Chris?'.

The diagnosis came as a bolt out of the blue, although Chris had been poorly on and off for some time and chemotherapy turned out to be, after one round of treatment, not a viable option.  When he was told chemo was not being continued, Chris asked how long he had and was told 'Months, less than 6' so he wrote his bucket list and started making plans.  Sadly, he deteriorated incredibly quickly and died at home, where he wanted to be with me at his side just 3 weeks later.  3 days before Christmas..  This was just the worst time we could have ever imagined.  In fact, I don't think we could have imagined how terribly awful this was to be.  Because of the Christmas and New Year holidays, we had to wait until the 15th January before we could hold his funeral - which he had planned himself.  Our village church was filled to capacity with friends, family, colleagues and representatives from various organisations - all dressed in football kit or, if not footie shirts, red and white for his beloved Southampton FC.  He included in his final requests a last trip past his shop.  This proved to be an unbelievable sight.  Every shop keeper in the street was outside, the tree outside Handmade had been decorated in red and white with ribbons, pom poms and messages and from the traffic lights to the end of the road a round of applause followed his funeral car.  A show of love and respect that was so unexpected yet so reverent and beautiful.  We, as a family, can only be proud to have had Chris in our lives.  A true family, community, honest and real man. 

Part of Chris's bucket list was to go on a cruise which he did actually book before he became too ill.  He asked that me and the children still went on it and, as hard as it was, we went.  We flew out to the boat and sailed around the Canary Islands for a week and returned yesterday with a hopeful but cautious new outlook on a new life which we must learn to live together without our 'Glue' to hold us together.  We will never, ever forget our amazing husband and dad and hope that the shop will be a living legacy to him.

So, as of next week, I will be doing my best to get back behind the wheel, drive the shop and the business forward and make it the success Chris and I had always imagined it could be.  The recent Christmas season was quite amazing with a huge number of customers making their gift purchases with us and the new year is already looking bright with some new suppliers already joining us and others waiting in the wings so, if you are in town, pop in and see us or, if you're not, have a look online and see what we can send you!

Keep in touch with us via Facebook and Twitter (www.facebook.com/handmadenewforest and @HandmadeNF ) or come in for a chat if you're passing.  We are always pleased to see you!

Look out for the next blog instalment soon - once I have some more news and thank you to everyone who has supported me and my family through this dreadfully awful time and to those who know we will still be needing those shoulders to cry and lean on in the days, weeks and months to come.  We know we are very lucky and are deeply grateful to have you all in our lives.  Thank you.

Kathy (And Chris)


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