COLUMN: As a city - we’re In It Together, says James Croft

James Croft daughters with his elephant
James Croft daughters with his elephant
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I’ve been in Sheffield for four years, and my overriding impression when I first got here was that everyone wanted to help you out and that everyone was friendly.

When it came to anything – renting a house, shopping, finding your way around the city – people genuinely wanted to make life as easy as possible for each other.

People aren’t boastful, they’re very humble and it’s just a really friendly city. With my In it Together elephant, which is sponsored by Counter Context as part of the Herd Of Sheffield Trail, I wanted to depict how I feel about Sheffield.

When it came to the design itself, I started off with the idea of people in little bubbles just on their own. As they move towards the city centre they coalesce and come together, inspired by the way that Sheffield as a city brings people together.

The design itself was very complicated and it took a long time to complete – but I managed to get a few people down to the warehouse to do a bit of painting, much in the spirit of the elephant itself!

The Herd of Sheffield is all about everyone coming together and helping each other out. That’s the idea of the event and that’s the idea of The Children’s Hospital Charity too. I’ve got children myself who use the hospital and it’s something that both they and myself have noticed during our time spent there.

My six-year- old daughter Amy has been going to the eye department at Sheffield Children’s Hospital for the last couple of years. Her eyes had started to turn in and the vision in one of them was very poor.

The hospital used eye drops and patches and thanks to them one of her eyes is now 20:20 and the other is as good as it possibly can be. She’s just been discharged so Sheffield Children’s Hospital is really close to our hearts. It’s great to be able to help out and work as part of the charity!

Recently, The Children’s Hospital Charity’s arts programme, Artfelt, covered the whole eye department in designs by Sheffield artist Nick Deakin. My daughter noticed straight away and it made a real difference.

It’s a nice thing because the hospital can be a daunting experience for any child but my daughters have always found it really enjoyable to be there.

I always wanted to support that kind of thing myself so being involved with the Herd of Sheffield has been brilliant.

Visit www.jamescroftdesigns.com if you would like to know more about James’s work. Also follow him on Twitter: @croft_art