Australia

Mum’s messages of hope inspire community

The driveway emerged as the perfect canvas in lockdown, with drawings boosting neighbourhood morale and comfort.And driveway art became a coping mechanism for mum Fiona Cracknell as she battled mental health issues after losing a family member during Victoria’s stage four restrictions.“Drawing always was therapeutic to me. I never thought of myself as an artist,…

The driveway emerged as the perfect canvas in lockdown, with drawings boosting neighbourhood morale and comfort.

And driveway art became a coping mechanism for mum Fiona Cracknell as she battled mental health issues after losing a family member during Victoria’s stage four restrictions.

“Drawing always was therapeutic to me. I never thought of myself as an artist, honestly never thought I was any good at drawing,” she said.

“Seeing the kids’ faces light up as they came past to see them made my hours of drawing all worthwhile.”

With everyday chalk, Ms Cracknell transformed her Gladstone Park driveway into stunning backdrops and popular characters from The Flintstones, Toy Story, Harry Potter and Bluey to entertain her three-year-old daughter, Emily.

Her cartoon drawings and messages of hope on the sidewalk were shared online and immediately attracted the attention of the entire community.

“I was offered to do seven Christmas drawings for my local council and received many other drawing jobs from real estate agencies and shopping centres,” Ms Cracknell said.

“When I realised that the local community was deliberately coming past to see my drawings, I decided to put collection tins out and raise money for mental health charities. I ended up raising $7000.”

Ms Cracknell has been nominated in News Corp Australia’s Thanks A Million campaign by a neighbour she briefly met during lockdown.

Louise Burton said she’s been an admirer of Ms Cracknell’s chalk art ever since she became the talk of their town.

“I know of Fiona through her drawings via a school friend sharing one of her Facebook posts,” Ms Burton said. “I did meet her once when I dropped off some Woolies ooshies that I took only to give to someone else.

“We don’t need to be miserable and Fiona did her best to cheer people up.”

To nominate someone and say thanks, go to thanksamillion.net.au and they could receive a $200 Woolworths Gift Card. Terms and conditions apply.

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