Precious moments with mum inspired pebbles of positivity

Some of the pebbles Jacquie has painted
Some of the pebbles Jacquie has painted

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IT began as a simple rehabilitation project, stemming from a passion for art.

Now, it has taken over Stokes Bay, and has become the talk of the town.

Jacquie Williams, left, with her mother Dereen, on holiday about 10 years ago

Jacquie Williams, left, with her mother Dereen, on holiday about 10 years ago

61-year-old Jacquie Williams came up with the idea to paint inspirational messages onto pebbles and scatter them around Stokes Bay, as an inspiration to people who may be going through tough times.

Everything began with Jacquie’s mother, Dereen Day, who suffers from Alzheimer’s – and was recently put into Russell Churcher Court care home.

As a close family unit, Jacquie and her family would go down to the beach to reflect on what was happening to her mum.

Jacquie decided that it was the ideal place to leave some uplifting messages for other people who may do the same thing.

She said: ‘At the height of my mum’s struggle with Alzheimer’s, life was very stressful, so we would come down to the beach to talk about things together.

‘I thought a lot of people may come down to Stokes Bay to do the same thing, and that it would be nice to put my artistic skills to good use.

‘If someone were to come across one of these pebbles in a time of need, it could be quite uplifting for them.

‘So far, I have painted around 100 pebbles, but am planning to make a few more.’

The pebbles have taken social media by storm, with people posting photos of them on Facebook and Twitter.

Jacquie says that she is pleased the pebbles have had such a positive impact on people.

She said: ‘I was completely taken aback – I didn’t realise they would be so popular among people.

‘I want to help raise awareness of Alzheimer’s and the effect it has on people and families. It can be quite difficult to open up about issues like this, so maybe it will help to spark some conversation.’

As well as doing something to try and help others, Jacquie has been working on a few personal projects to help remember her mum.

She explained: ‘Sometimes we will go to see her and she won’t recognise us – so we all have to battle it with her, together.

‘I have been doing a few sketches from old photographs of her, to remember some of the things she has done.’

Jacquie will be continuing to scatter pebbles around Stokes Bay throughout the summer.

For more on the Gosport pebbles, go to Jacquie’s Facebook blog, called ‘View from a beach-house’.