Worldwide Media Following, Damian Hirst artworks and Funds Raised by 11 Year old
This term, Hazlegrove Prep School was amazed to hear about the endeavours of Dot L which had resulted in rather unexpected media interest, two gifted Damien Hirst artworks as well as awareness and funds raised for both the Felix Project and COOK-19.
Whilst lockdown and all of its various challenges may finally be moving into the rear-view mirror, there are still some wonderful stories emerging of what people did during this unprecedented time to reach out to others and to connect the wider community.
This term, Hazlegrove Prep School was amazed to hear about the endeavours of their young pupil, Dot L which had resulted in some rather unexpected media interest, two gifted Damien Hirst artworks as well as awareness and funds raised for both the Felix Project and COOK-19.
Dot’s mother, Laura, (a chef and blogger), volunteered during lockdown with cooking and baking for food banks, local hospitals and helping with meal packs for those children for whom the loss of their school meal, potentially their only meal of the day, had a significant impact.
Laura described the experience as ‘real eye opener’. She continued, ‘It quickly became apparent that the work that needed to be done was overwhelming, and that so many who were now stuck at home did not realise about the food insecurity and other issues on their doorstep or if they did, had no ability to help as they were locked down.’
With the rise of the virtual experience, Dot saw a gap in the provision for children, there was very little for them in the early days of lockdown, and took it upon herself to follow in her mother’s online footsteps and created her own weekly cooking class. It was a very special moment for Mum and daughter as Laura supported Dot to deliver a weekly opportunity for children to engage with food and friends. Laura explains, ‘Dot would decide what to cook and do a practice, I would write up the recipe and shopping list and post it on Instagram’.
Before long, Dot had gathered a growing following on Instagram, and word began to spread, with families from all around the world tuning in to see what she was cooking each week. People joined from Singapore, New York, New Zealand and Dubai, including some families who could not be together but would use Dot’s online lesson to cook together from their different locations. It was a unique moment that was grabbed by this very special girl whose actions facilitated in giving children a focus during a very difficult period of time.
Each session closed with a request for those who had taken part to donate to the Felix Project and COOK-19.
Laura adds, ‘We will have no idea how much she really raised through those months, but towards the end I was approached by families that wanted to give her something to thank her. A separate fund was set up in just the last week from which the money raised was donated and used to purchase two Damien Hirst limited edition rainbow and heart artworks that he had created to raise funds (with all proceeds going to the NHS and Felix project)! It was the most perfect gift! All the money went to charity and Dot has a very special souvenir of her hard work and those extraordinary times.’
Dot’s endeavours did not go unnoticed and she was included in a feature in the Daily Mail about online supper clubs that enabled people to cook live with a top chef - amongst the greats such as Ottolenghi and Michelin starred chefs was Dot, cooking up a different recipe each week for other fellow locked down children.
Laura added, ‘I had no idea how talented and determined she was until she came up with this... and did it every week, for weeks on end!
Dot’s teacher, Miss Aggett said, ‘We couldn't be prouder of Dot, we have always appreciated her consideration and wonderful sense of fun at school but to apply it on such a huge scale and to impact so many people shows a determination beyond her years. She is a wonderful example of what can be done with courage and a kind heart. What an inspiration.'
Dot with Miss Aggett