The Plinther’s Causes

During my hour on the 4th Plinth in Trafalgar Square (Antony Gormley’s One & Other project) I gave away over 30 of my signed prints, each with a charity or cause listed on the back, hoping the recipient would send a donation to that cause. Of course I have no control over this and they may – or may not have done so. In an attempt to highlight those causes further, I am now trying to link those images to a cause, so hopefully, if you scroll over the image it will take you there directly.

I have to thank all those friends and family who have sent me donations (even though they got nothing in return – except maybe a good laugh at my chaos on the plinth!). You made it all worthwhile – as indeed did those guys (homeless) in front of The National Gallery who took part so brilliantly in my performance and indeed saved the day! I did try and write to those guys, but below you will find an account of what happened, which I have cut and pasted from my other blog at

What has happened to Royal Mail?

August 27, 2009 at 9:43 pm · Filed under Musings

I’ve been unsuccessful in getting a letter that I sent directly to the One & Other team in Trafalgar Square.  I  tried to send it directly to them (rather than the Artichoke office in East London) because it also contained a ‘thank-you’ letter to one of the security guards who was very kind to me, but also asking if she would pass on a note (enclosed within hers) to the guys (homeless) in front of the National Gallery, who, I felt, added to the fun of my appearance and I would very much like them to know that. I did look for them later, but they had moved on – perhaps to a soup-kitchen.

Alas, the letter never made it. I used to have complete faith in Royal Mail, as many decades ago I worked for them during Christmas hols when I was a student. Letters with even the most incomplete addresses  would get through to the addressee due to the diligence and tenacity of the postmen & women. In this case I thought that “One & Other Production Team in the Green Offices opposite the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2, may be a good clue to the intended destination. Not so, it would appear, and the letter was returned to me!


I’m now going to forward the letter to the Artichoke offices  and hope  the enclosed ‘thank-you’  messages  eventually reach their intended destination.

Apart from giving away my prints, I made a plaster cast whilst up there and also threw off packs of condoms and HIV/AIDS literature in an attempt to promote awareness. Way back in the 1980s I had several friends die of AIDS related illnesses and some who have been living with the virus since then. All of those friends were heterosexual and white. Contrary to popular belief, HIV/AIDS is not a gay or African disease, it can affect anybody and it’s just lurking around to get you. It doesn’t discriminate – do you? I have recently become more involved with the cause since being invited to join two groups in Blackburn by my very special friend, Adrienne Seed. I feel she decided I was wandering around aimlessly since the very sudden death of my beautiful partner, Paul Derbyshire on new Year’s Day 2007 and so extended the invitation to me. The groups are Hivine, which Adrienne set up and the umbrella group, Thrivine of which she is the Chair and both the support groups do splendid work in trying to help people with the virus to know that they are loved and not the social outcasts they once thought.

My idea of the  give-away condoms I owe the Richard Branson and Virgin, as when I got my mobile phone from them I carefully laid out the components to check everything was there, phone, sim-card, instructions – ‘hello – what’s this?’ It was a condom! Okay, I realise it was a marketing tool (forgive the pun) on Virgin’s part, but what a brilliant idea! I say hurray for Richard Branson – and Virgin!


Published by


Born in Liverpool at the end of WW2, but raised in Skelmersdale. I first studied art in Southport from 1960-63 and worked in graphic design till I married. In December 1969 I moved to Zambia with my husband and two young children. There I taught art in the local girls school, illustrated for the National Correspondence College and did all sorts of other artwork, paid and unpaid. In 1978 I divorced and remarried in the summer of 1980. In 1985 I became ill and the following year cancer was diagnosed. There was no treatment available in Zambia and so I had to go to the UK. After recovering from a radium needle implant I went back to Zambia, but 18 months later the cancer recurred and it was off to the UK again for radical surgery. This time I realised I must stay in the UK where treatment was available, so I never returned to Zambia nor my husband. A few months later I applied for a degree course, but two years later the disease metastasised and I spent most of my final year in and out of hospital. It’s been a long hard road, but I’m still plodding on and it is now 24 years since my last cancer treatment. Because of my experience of cancer and surviving against the odds, I try and help others cope with their devastating diagnosis and prognosis.

One thought on “The Plinther’s Causes”

  1. On behalf of Hivine and Thrivine I would publicly like to thank Willo for her brave efforts at raising awareness about HIV both on the plinth and also on Radio Lancashire where she proved to be a most entertaining and amusing guest. I know that I can speak for the whole group when I say that she has become a much loved and cherished honary member and is valued by everyone, both for her committment to the cause as well as a truly caring person who values others – no matter what they have!
    Adrienne (Chair of Thrivine)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s