A sparkling combination of chocolate and fine wine has raised money for a mental health charity.
The event in aid of Vale of Clwyd MIND was organised by Denbigh Chocolate Shop to celebrate their fifth anniversary.
Proprietors Mark Young and Mary Tetley launched the shop and café on World Chocolate Day in 2009 – and haven’t looked back since.
They put on the wine and chocolate tasting evening at the Brookhouse Mill as a way of thanking customers for the support they have received.
Committed Welsh language learner Mark, who hails from Ellesmere Port, says the celebration, which was organised in partnership with Welsh language body, Menter Iaith, raised £700 for the charity.
He said: “A good proportion of what we raised came from the sale of two paintings that we auctioned after they were donated by Denbigh artist Carol Wynne.
“We wanted to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the opening of Denbigh Chocolate Shop in style and we certainly achieved that.
“Mary gave a presentation about luxury chocolates which of course, involved lots of tasting while Welsh church minister Marcus Roberts gave a very amusing but informative talk and led a wine tasting session.
“The event raised a fantastic amount of money for Vale of Clwyd MIND and we are very grateful to everyone who supported the event and in particular our sponsors Pendine Park care organisation and PR firm Ceidiog Communication.
“We are absolutely delighted with how Denbigh Chocolate Shop has developed and continues to do well. The last 12 months, from a business point of view, has been our best ever year.
“We employ, and support, 15 full and part-time jobs and all our staff are bilingual. We feel it’s important fluent Welsh speakers can converse with someone in the shop but also Welsh learners, such as me, feel comfortable using what Welsh they can.”
According to Mary, they chose to support Vale of Clwyd MIND in recognition of all the important work they do in the region.
She said: “It’s a hugely important charity which we know, due to budget and funding cuts, struggles to support as many people suffering mental illness as they would like.
“Clwyd Wynne, the charity’s vice chair, compered the evening and we are so grateful to Carol, Clwyd’s wife, for the two fabulous pieces of art work she donated which raised such a fantastic amount of money through the auction.”
Carol Wynne left nursing 14 years ago to follow her dream of becoming an artist but her heart still lies with those that work in mental health and those that suffer mental health issues.
She said: “I worked as a nurse, mainly in mental health, for more than 30 years. My last post was in Colwyn Bay at the Nant y Glynn Mental Health Resource Centre. But after a lifetime in nursing I decided to leave and follow my dream.
“I studied for, and achieved, a BA hones degree in Fine Art from Wrexham’s Glyndwr University. A great deal of my degree work was based around installations based on North Wales Denbigh Hospital and the way the building was deteriorating.
“I wanted to show how the hospital’s nurses and patients were the base for a community in its own right. I used 3D photography, film and collages for my installations.”
She added: “However, since qualifying with my degree I have begun painting again using mix-media such as oil, water colours and acrylics to paint works of fine art. I like to work in abstract but also like to paint land and seascapes. In truth I will tackle any subject matter if I feel I can do it justice.
“The two paintings I donated to Denbigh Chocolate Shop to be auctioned were of a Welsh cornfield and a painting of Dylan Thomas’ Boathouse at Laugharne.
“I was just thrilled to be able to support Vale of Clwyd MIND and Denbigh Chocolate Shop.”
Barry Williams, Chair of vale of Clwyd Mind was grateful for the support of Denbigh Chocolate Shop.
He said: “It’s been brilliant to have Mark and Mary supporting us in this was and I’m also so delighted Carol Wynne, who is a wonderfully talented artist, donated two paintings for the auction.
“The money raised will benefit the charity in so many ways. The economic climate has been difficult, we are all aware of that, but it has hit vale of Clwyd MIND really hard as we have seen funding and the availability of grants cut.
“We are always fighting to secure funding so support such as we have had from Denbigh Chocolate Shop is absolutely vital if we are to continue supporting people with mental health issues in the county.”
Clwyd Wynne, vice chair of Vale of Clwyd MIND, agrees adding that the charity, due to lack of funds, has had no choice but to reduce the services they have been able to offer.