Carver Mike finds deep peace in creating artworks for charity

Mike Appleby, a ­member of the congregation at Edinburgh’s St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral has carved eight beautiful wooden art works which are on display at the cathedral on Palmerston Place.

Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 4:59 am
Mike Appleby's artworks have raised more than £3000 for Christian Aid
Mike Appleby's artworks have raised more than £3000 for Christian Aid

Through sponsorship, they have raised more than £3000 for a Christian Aid market garden project in Zambia, helping women and people with disabilities to start their own small agricultural businesses.

Mike said: “I’ve always worked with wood in one form or another and done woodcarving for the past 15 years but since I retired, I’ve been able to spend more time carving more intricate wooden pieces.

“I finished this piece entitled Deep Peace last year and it took me a year on and off to make. It’s made from a single piece of ash and is divided into eight parts. Each piece has a line originally from an ancient Gaelic blessing which now forms part of a piece of choral music by John Rutter.”

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The 63-year-old retired scientist who lives in Willowbrae, continued: “I thought of it as expressing themes, in addition to the blessing, those themes being Scotland, Scottish wildlife and a passage of day into night.

“I wanted to gift it to the cathedral, but I also wanted participation from other people. So, speaking to Alison, the cathedral’s Christian Aid rep, we came up with the idea that people from the congregation could ­sponsor the carvings, perhaps choosing to dedicate one of the pieces to a loved one or friend in return for sponsorship, with the money going to ­Christian Aid.

“I’ve supported Christian Aid for many years and when I retired, I donated the money I made from my wood work commissions”.

Alison Dickson, Christian Aid rep at St Mary’s said: “I initially sent out an email with the idea and was really pleased with the response. People who wanted to sponsor a particular piece chose one by looking at Mike’s sketches and when they were finished everyone came to the cathedral and we held a lovely dedication service. We’re delighted to have raised over £3,000 which will go towards the cathedral’s Community Partnership with Christian Aid, focusing on the charity’s work in Zambia.”

Mary Mulligan, churches development officer with Christian Aid Scotland said: “Christian Aid supporters often come up with imaginative ways to support our work, but Mike’s carvings have to be amongst the most creative of ideas. The carvings are beautiful and their worth increases by knowing that the £3,000 raised through sponsorship will go towards supporting women and people with disabilities to establish market gardens in Zambia to provide an income for themselves and their families.”

The market garden project is running alongside a larger project, Making Agriculture a Business which is being funded by the Scottish Government.

If your school, business or church would like to become involved with Christian Aid’s Community Partnership scheme, please go to