Alnwick/Haldimand Township Council – Young Grafton Artist Wins Recognition

In City Hall, Local

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland

A young artist whose contribution to the community’s Christmas spirit was recognized at this week’s Alnwick-Haldimand Township council meeting.

Oliver Stanford is a Grade 8 student at Grafton Public School and the son of Kellie and Tim Stanford – who were part of the small family-and-friends contingent who accompanied him to be council’s special guest.

His beautiful Christmas cards have been around a couple of years now, Mayor John Logel said. Last year, the young artist began designing and selling his own cards as a way to buy Christmas gifts for his family. They were so well received that he exceeded the goal he set for himself, his mother pointed out proudly – but each card was painstakingly created by hand, one by one.

This year, an anonymous Grafton resident became something of a patron, commissioning him to produce five designs for a special project. He digitalized and copied the cards from Oliver’s originals, and had the artist sign and number them. This Secret Santa then took the cards and distributed them – secretly, at night – to homes where the residents had taken the time and trouble to share the holiday spirit with their decorations.

If you were lucky enough to get a card, the inside would say: “You’ve been “Drive-by Christmas carded”! Thank you for taking the time to decorate your home so beautifully, and for spreading a little seasonal joy and light. Although you don’t know me, and I don’t know you, your efforts brought a smile to my face and made my Christmas brighter. Wishing you and yours a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year. An appreciative passer by”

Next year, his mother plans to find a way to reproduce Oliver’s designs digitally so he can be part of Grafton’s annual Christmas market.

He was heralded by Town Crier Liam Cragg, who brought along his loudest bell for the occasion.

In his cry, Cragg called the young man “Grafton’s own Banksy.”

Perhaps this will grow to be a more formal designation for future years. Just like Michelin bestows stars to exceptional restaurants, your acknowledgment of people who make Grafton greater might be considered a crowning achievement.”

Cragg floated the idea of recognizing Oliver with some kind of award at the hamlet’s annual Canada Day celebration for his contributions to making the community a better place.

That should be celebrated with great gusto!” he declared.

Mayor Logel presented Oliver with an official township pin and baseball cap, as well as a certificate of appreciation.

Deputy Mayor Joan Stover presented Oliver with a gift bag and showed off her own achievement – one of Oliver’s cards left in her mailbox in a waterproof plastic bag with dangling gold ribbons

Cecilia Nasmith
Author: Cecilia Nasmith

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