Ely rockers may love painting pebbles but their hearts are definitely not made of stone.
When members of Spotted in Ely Rocks found out about a penguin-loving, poorly three-year-old, they decided to make him rocks of art, decorated with his favourite Antarctic animal.
Spotted in Ely Rocks administrator Fleur Patten launched Mission Penguin last week, putting a shout out for themed stones to be made to cheer little Oliver up and help ease his anxiety.
Before Oliver underwent tests at the Princess of Wales Hospital yesterday, he was surprised with a dozen penguin keepsakes, made by Ely rockers, as well as penguin themed cards and pictures, created by local children, touched by his tale.
Oliver’s aunt, Rachael, told Spotted in Ely the youngster was at “such a point of smiles and joy” when penguin pebbles were strategically planted on his walk to the hospital.
“We had them hidden in obvious places to us but his joy was the best – full, big smiles when finding them.”
The act of kindness helped to ease his anxiety about his appointment, she said.
“The Peso rock became his favourite and stayed with him.
“Thank you so much to everyone who played a part in this. It’s much appreciated and made him smile a lot and the day go easier.”
Oliver and his family plan to paint their own rocks to hide as a “big thank you”, she said.
Riley McFall, five, donated his treasured rock hopper penguin soft toy, a gift from his father, John, who had previously served in the Falklands Islands while in the Royal Air Force.
Riley told Spotted in Ely: “It’s for him to keep. When he gets scared he can give him a cuddle.”
John said the idea had been Riley’s entirely, ever since his mother, Helen, had seen the shout-out on Spotted in Ely Rocks.
Speaking about his son, John said: “He is very kindhearted and has a lot of empathy which is unusual for a five-year-old boy.”
Since being established in late November Spotted in Ely Rocks has gained an avalanche of followers, keen to join in the fun, post pictures of their finds or get creating.
The group hosts regular, free Rock Fests at venues across East Cambridgeshire and beyond to bring people together to create rocks of art, as well as special events and activities to mark occasions such as Burn’s Night and Valentine’s Day.
For more information and to get rocking, see Spotted in Ely Rocks.