Spearheaded by The Duchess of Cambridge, patron of the National Portrait Gallery, Hold Still is a project to create a ‘unique collective portrait’ of the UK during lockdown.
Charmaine Budgen, who works in North Street’s Boots was enjoying her lunch break on the cathedral green when she walked past the book.
Charmaine, from Hermitage, said: “I do what a lot of people do and popped to the cathedral green to eat my sandwich, then decided to go for a stroll around.
“It just caught my eye so I researched the hashtag #ibelieveinbookfairies and saw a comment that was left with it.”
It turns out each of the 100 subjects featured in the bookwas given a copy to hide – and this particular copy was left by Sue Hicks from Prinsted.
Sue is pictured in the book her father, and she said: “My father was inthe nursing home Marriott House. Because I was unable to visit him I was unaware of his decline. The care staff told me ‘Sue, you’ve got to come and see him through the glass’.”
The visit, captured by Kris Tanyag, clinical lead at the care home, was the last time Sue would be able to speak to her father. He died ten days later.
“I’m just so grateful to the nurses and carers for making that happen,” Sue said.
“Kris captured the moment and I felt it was a tribute to Dad. He did a lot for people in the area and did a lot for schools and for the church. It’s a tribute to him but also to Kris and the care staff who did so much.
Sue and her husband decided to hide their copy of the book at the feet of the statue of St Richard by the cathedral – for it to be found by Charmaine later.
Charmaine said: “I didn’t know a huge amount about the book until I found it. It’s really quite gripping and emotional.
“It really meant so much to them to leave it there and it was somewhere that gave them hope during Covid. For them as a family, the cathedral and Bishop’s Palace Gardens, to go there for services and to have picnics.
“I had heard about the book on the news but things like this don’t usually happen to me so I couldn’t believe it.”
Sue, who volunteers at the Pallant House Gallery, added: “It has been something amazing to be a part of and lovely to know it will be a part of history. We’ve all been treated so well I feel that she made us a part of it all.”