Meet Woody....as he evolved on my easel there was a point where he appeared a little scary, a double murderer was at large the weekend I was painting him and there was a stage where he looked exactly like the photofit picture of the man they were searching for! Thankfully Woody began to show a kindness and longing in his eyes and I hoped he no longer would scare anyone.
For some time he remained nameless but then his name came to me in two ways. Firstly I once knew a Woody when I was 15 and he was 18, he was tall..around 6' 6" and he made me feel safe. Woody had the most wonderful family, they all used to gather around the television in the evenings and watch their favourite programmes together. There was a warmth in that room that I had never experienced in my 15 years, they welcomed me and made me feel part of their family and I knew they thought the world of me. His Mum was a cinema usherette, a tall lady with a lovely face and she would smile even broader when she saw her son and myself in the cinema queue on a Sunday afternoon.
Woody decided that he would like to go on holiday to Spain with a group of friends, it was out of the question for me to consider going with him as I was too young. He was a quiet, thoughtful and kind person....it almost seemed strange for him to want to go on a lads week away....he wasn't the type. But Woody went....and tragically drowned in the sea on his second day there.
Then just last week my colleague at work was telling me she had bought a puppy for her 8 year old son. This little lad has a hearing implant and finds coping with school and everyday challenges difficult. My colleague sits with him at bedtime and holds his hand until he goes to sleep as he gets so anxious at night time. Since getting the puppy she no longer has to do that, and the little lad goes off happily to school and joins in the after school activities. It has made a huge difference to his life.
I asked her what she had named the puppy and she said......Woody.