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A Necklace of Love

At the Witney Mind Craft Group, everyone is given the opportunity to have a go at something.  No project is too big or too small, and no time limits are ever set.  The result achieved by each person is the product of hard work, dedication, encouragement and hopefully enjoyment.

Just over two years’ ago, Mike was turning the pages on a beading magazine when he spotted a delicate and complex necklace made of several thousand tiny glass beads.  You could see a sparkle in his eyes and a clear desire to take on the challenge.  Notwithstanding his hands being more suited to laying bricks than fine needle work, he was determined to make the necklace for his beloved wife, Julia, to thank her for her everlasting support and love.

With trays of glass beads, packets of fine needles, a magnifying glass and miles of thread, he made a start.  At first progress was slow as he learned the techniques needed to follow the pattern and build the shapes.  Time after time, the thread would pull out of the needle and Jenny, our helper, rethreaded it for him; some beading tasks were just too hard even for the determined Mike.

Working with small beads, some only a millimetre in size, necklaces don’t grow very quickly, and some weeks you could watch the grass growing outside more quickly than the necklace growing in length, but Mike never once gave up.  He was totally committed to finishing the necklace driven by the love for his wife.  No mistake went uncorrected; the only outcome was going to be perfection.

Initially, it was hoped to finish in time for Christmas…..2014.  However, time waits for no man no matter how determined they are and for Mike time made no exception.  As the New Year 2015 passed, Mike was even more determined than ever.  As weeks passed, the numbers of beads on the tray decreased and the length of the necklace increased.  Mike secretly borrowed one his wife’s other favourite necklaces so that he could judge the final length.  With Christmas 2015 approaching, disaster struck when his helper, Jenny broke her hand; rethreading needles suddenly became much slower. Christmas 2015 came and went with only a few weeks work remaining, until finally at the beginning of February 2016 it was complete.  Even the gift box was home decorated and lined to add that extra special touch.  After 2 years of beadwork, this necklace deserved the best.

Completely unaware of the reason why, Mike invited his wife to join him at Mind. He asked for everyone’s attention and went on to give a short speech about why he had made the necklace. He then presented her with the box and the look on her face when she opened it to reveal the necklace was one of complete surprise and amazement; a true necklace of love.

It was a very special and almost tearful occasion.  Seeing someone achieve such a great piece of stunning, beautiful jewellery after 2 years of dedication, was truly moving for all the staff, and of course Mike and his wife.

Written by Jenny Parry, Volunteer

Mike adds: ‘Don’t’ think mental health has to be a barrier for achieving things – if you put your mind to it anything is possible, with a little help!’