Friday 30 April 2021

Steps to Kindness - Remembering Lou

We lost our dear friend and brilliant artist, Louise Gardner (aka ACT Auntie) in February this year. We're slowly coming to terms to life without Lou, feeling the heartbreak, appreciating her work and remembering some wonderful times. For me, amongst those memories are the two podcast episodes where Lou and I exercised our playful creativity and had great fun.

Lou & Ross - Taunton 5 February 2020

My Dad (aka Big G), who has also featured on the podcast, is going to contribute to the celebration of Lou's life and work. Although Dad and Lou never met, they became mutual fans after hearing each other's episodes.

Dad says;
"I am going to do a sponsored walk here in the North East of England to raise money for the charity, MIND.

At 85 years of age I am not up to repeating my earlier achievement of walking Hadrian’s Wall Path which I did in 2005 for Cancer Research. 

However I walk every morning to a tree dedicated to my darling wife, Ann and planted by her friends in the village. I will dedicate my morning walks to Lou and spread the message of compassion and kindness which she brought to life so beautifully in her work.

Some mornings, I'll take a different route and drive to a nearby country park and walk a comfortable distance along the banks of the River Tyne. The accumulated distance over the month of May would be quite substantial and a worthy tribute to Lou. I'll take a picture every day and ask Ross to share it on social media.

If anyone would like to sponsor me for this walk ,in memory of the lovely Lou, I would be delighted and very thankful."

Click here to sponsor Dad! 

It's OK to feel whatever you feel, you are not alone @ACTauntie

If you'd like to sponsor Big G and make a donation you can do so via the main just giving page for MIND in memory of Lou - you'll find the link here. Please mention 'Big G' in your donation message because when his total reaches £100, I'll match it. Update - Big G broke the £100 target on day 1! So I've added an extra £100. 

Thanks and love to everyone who has contributed:

Mick & Melinda
Jane & Stu Kennedy
Kevin Simpson
Glyn Ellis Hughes
Brigitte Smales
Fiona Healy O'Neill
Suzi Tarrant
Richard Coates
Chris Winson
Helen McGillivray
Kate Danforth
The Andersons
Marianna Ford
Richard Pearson
Mary & Ian Somerville
Jackie Hart
Janet Champion
Fiona Healy O'Neill
Kylie Rikki
Jane Erridge
Claire Stafford
Charlotte Stone
Tracy and Spencer the dog on the Tyne walk
Carole Scott
Mary Welford
Val Mennear
Angela Joyce
Brenda Parker
Carole Scott
Kirstie Royce
Gill Randall
Maeve Lappin
Jane George
Jo & Nick White

More about Lou

You can watch Lou's animation "ACT advice for difficult thoughts and feelings from your ACT Auntie" on youtube here.

To hear Lou speak about her artistic career, her relationship with anxiety and her creative and kind spirit - you can listen here.

To hear Lou and me have a go at interpreting a TV Programme from our childhood - listen here as we discuss Mr Benn.

Useful Links

Mind's services

  • Mind's helplines provide information and support by phone and email.
  • Local Minds offer face-to-face services across England and Wales. These services includes talking therapies, peer support and advocacy.
  • Side by Side is our supportive online community for anyone experiencing a mental health problem.

Other organisations

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)

0800 58 58 58
Provides listening services, information and support for anyone who needs to talk, including a web chat.

Gender Identity Research & Education Society (GIRES)
Works to improve the lives of of trans and gender non-conforming people of all ages, including those who are non-binary and non-gender.

Maytree Suicide Respite Centre

020 7263 7070
Offers free respite stays for people in suicidal crisis.

The Mix

0808 808 4994
85258 (crisis messenger service, text THEMIX)
Support and advice for under 25s, including a helpline, crisis messenger service and webchat.

Mood Diaries
Some examples of mood diaries – many more are available. Mind doesn't endorse any particular one.

NHS 111 (England)

Non-emergency medical help and advice for people in England.

NHS 111 Wales

111 (Hywel Dda, Powys, Aneurin Bevan and Swansea Bay (including Brigend) Health Boards)
0845 46 47 (all other areas of Wales)
Non-emergency medical help and advice for people living in Wales. The contact number for this service differs depending on which area of Wales you are in.


0800 068 41 41
07860 039967 (text)
Confidential support for under-35s at risk of suicide and others who are concerned about them. Open daily from 9am–midnight.

Offers emotional support and information for anyone affected by mental health problems.


116 123 (freephone)
Chris, Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK
PO Box 90 90
Stirling FK8 2SA

Samaritans are open 24/7 for anyone who needs to talk. You can visit some Samaritans branches in person. Samaritans also have a Welsh Language Line on 0808 164 0123 (7pm–11pm every day).


85258 (text SHOUT)
Confidential 24/7 text service offering support if you are in crisis and need immediate help.

Stay Alive
App with help and resources for people who feel suicidal or are supporting someone else.

Students Against Depression
Information and support for students experiencing suicidal feelings, including a helpful safety plan template.

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS)

0300 111 5065
Emotional and practical support and local groups for anyone bereaved or affected by suicide.


0300 330 0630
Listening services, information and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

Online mental health community (formerly called Big White Wall). Free in some areas through your GP, employer or university.


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