My workplace is filled with beautiful treasures

Ayesha Heaton at Weston Park Museum, Weston Bank,Sheffield. Pic Steve EllisAyesha Heaton at Weston Park Museum, Weston Bank,Sheffield. Pic Steve Ellis
Ayesha Heaton at Weston Park Museum, Weston Bank,Sheffield. Pic Steve Ellis
Ayesha Heaton lives in Beighton with her daughter Joy. When her partner Dan Hallam died suddenly and unexpectedly in January 2018 from sepsis it was truly shocking. Everything changed almost overnight.“I was so sad but I found that spending time doing my favourite things is a huge comfort.”

Arts and crafts

I’ve always been creative and I find the process of making things really absorbing and soothing. Since Dan died I’ve spent more time on creative projects and tried collage for the first time. Although it’s a new technique to me I’ve really taken to it and produced a few portraits – one of which was exhibited last year at Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery. I also had a small quilt on display in the University library as part of a celebration of the Arts Tower earlier this year. I enjoy making things just

for my own satisfaction but it’s really rewarding if other people like my work enough to display it too. One of the most fun things I’ve done this year was to take part in the Sky Landscape Artist of the year competition. My work didn’t get through to the heats but I was lucky enough to be one of the 50 ‘wildcard artists’ invited to one of the Gateshead heats. The view in front of us was the Gateshead Millennium Bridge – which was really beautiful but also way out of my league to recreate. Instead I made a collage of a nearby building called The Sage – a much simpler structure to tackle but with

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Sheffield Tramlines. Picture Scott MerryleesSheffield Tramlines. Picture Scott Merrylees
Sheffield Tramlines. Picture Scott Merrylees

beautiful reflective blue and grey panels – that changed colour as the day progressed. It was a great day.


Listening to and playing music are definitely in my list of favourite things to do. Dan, Joy and I have always gone to festivals and my favourites are: Tramlines of course- how lucky we are to have this in our city Glastonbury – if we are lucky enough to get tickets. Glastonbury is very special to me and is like nowhere else– it’s like being transported to another universe for five days Bearded Theory – a small, easy going festival in Derbyshire. I like the quirky mix of people and the fact that you can take your own booze into the arena! As well as listening to music I also have a go at playing music and am in a little covers band called The Nuke Romantics. I play the ukulele and sing – both really badly. Although my favourite music to listen to is loud angry rock – that doesn’t always translate so well to the ukulele! We mostly play Britpop and 80s stuff at friends’ parties and charity gigs. We’ve been lucky enough to play gigs at two of my very favourite pubs this year – The Fat Cat and The Washington. We are keeping our fingers crossed for a call from the Glastonbury team!


I took some time away from work last year and volunteered with 3 different charities, ASSIST, Cathedral Archer Project and Grimm & co at Rotherham. All tjhree are very special charities but I am especially honoured to have helped at ASSIST - a charity in the town centre that supports destitute asylum seekers by offering really practical help to people including finding temporary accommodation and securing legal advice. It makes me very proud to know that Sheffield was the first “City of Sanctuary” a city that welcomes people fleeing violence and persecution and in need of safety. I met people from around the world, often with terribly sad stories - all trying hard to stay positive and look to the future despite the uncertainty. I absolutely loved my time there and I learned so much. ASSIST is a really efficiently run charity – it’s delivered by an army of committed volunteers and just a handful of very dedicated paid staff. If you would like to support them you can be sure your donations will be used well.


I left the NHS this year after almost 30 years service working in primary care, community and hospital services in and around Sheffield. It was a really hard decision as I believe so strongly in all the NHS stands for and I am so grateful and impressed by all it has done for me and my family. I worry about what will be lost if we change to an insurance style system and what will happen to all those people who could be denied health care.

Museums Sheffield

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I love my new job! I now work for Museums Sheffield as a Project Manager – helping with the redevelopment of two galleries at Weston Park Museum. I love that my workplace is filled with so many beautiful and inspiring treasures and that I get to see them every day.

My least favourite thing

My least favourite thing of course is Sepsis. It’s a sneaky, evil condition. It can look like flu which makes it hard to spot and so often by the time people seek help it can be too late. If you do one thing today please read up on the symptoms so that you can be armed. The symptoms are:

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