Ruth Farnell has finally got her living room back – but she’s going to miss the Snowdog who has shared her home for the last five months.
Process Pup was one of the 44 hugely popular Snowdogs on the Martlets Hospice charity trail that caught the imagination of Brighton and Hove.
It was Ruth who set up Hanover’s successful community bid to buy one when the sculptures were auctioned, to make sure one of the Snowdogs stayed in a public place for everyone to see. The Snowdog has been lodging at Ruth’s home while donors debated where the figure should live permanently. The group eventually decided that she should take up residence in the garden of the Hanover Centre in Southover Street.
Process Pup was unveiled there on Sunday (May 14) with a celebration attended by 50 people. “It all started when people on the Hanover Community Notice Board Facebook site were saying they’d like to crowdfund to buy a Snowdog,” said Ruth.
“I said, ‘I’m going to do it, come on you lot’. I just lit the blue touchpaper and got it going. But it wasn’t me alone. A lot of people quietly did things behind the scenes,” added Ruth, an IT project manager who has lived in Hanover for 30 years.
Residents raised £2,500, but knew it was unlikely to be enough. Then Brian Warren who owns local company Quick HR, and long-term Hanover resident, stepped in.
“The Snowdogs were enormously popular,” says Brian, “We knew many would go to private homes or offices, but if Hanover bought one it would mean Brighton people would still be able to see it. So I said my company would make up the shortfall between what was raised and what was needed.”
“There was a lot of discussion about which dog to bid for.Originally the first choice was Bobby, as the artist, Katherine Griffin, lives in Hanover,” said Brian. “But when we heard that Balfour Primary wanted to buy Bobby in memory of one of their pupils, Niamh Storey-Davidson, we felt it was right to look at other Snowdogs. In the end we drew up a shortlist of Snowdogs to bid for, from what the contributors wanted.”
One of the top dogs on the list was Process Pup, who had been attracting the crowds on the seafront.
“She’s really colourful which is fitting for Hanover as it has such colourful houses,” says Brian.
Brian and Ruth went to the auction and secured Process Pup for £6,000. Afterwards, they found out that the artist, Josh Ford, also lives in Hanover, which seemed so perfect. Process Pup then moved temporarily into Ruth’s lounge.
“It was hard to get her in – she isn’t heavy but she’s an awkward shape and we had to lift her over the bannister,” says Ruth.
“We put her by the window so passers-by could see her, and there were always people chatting and laughing outside our house. We also let people in if they wanted to come and admire her. We’ll miss her but we’ve been a bit squashed and I’ll be glad to have the space back.”
Brian is delighted it all worked out. “Getting a Snowdog ticked all the right boxes,” he says. “We raised money for the hospice, bought a brilliant piece of art and are thrilled it will be seen and enjoyed by people for many years to come.”