Prime Minister’s award after artist raises huge sums for ‘Samaritans’

By Jill Dando News

An artist has received an award from the Prime Minister after she raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity.

Sarah Graham raised funds for the Samaritans by inviting people to paint their own version of her camper van design, and receiving works from more than 180 artists and celebrities.

She has since been auctioning the works off, and has so far raised a total of £43,500, bringing recognition from the Points of Light award scheme run by prime minister Rishi Sunak.

Bim Afolami, the MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, (pictured with Sarah) said: “Sarah’s remarkable talent and zeal was poured into the ‘Samarivans’ fundraising campaign to attract fantastic support for the Samaritans charity, raising over £37,000.”

Photo Sarah with Bim Afolami MP (photo credit Bim Afolami)

Sarah Graham has bipolar disorder for which she has been admitted to hospital when suffering from particularly debilitating episodes.
Through these times, Sarah has drawn on the support of ‘Samaritans’, and wanted to find a way to say thank you to the charity that has helped her.

Sarah has been painting camper van stencils for years, and decided to feature these in the launch of her ‘Samarivans’ fundraising campaign in 2023, securing sponsorship from a range of organisations to fund the canvases and other costs, and with the support of local North Herts District Council


Sarah received artwork from over 180 artists, as well as celebrities and individuals from the local community, which she has been auctioning to so far raise over £43,500.

Sarah also advocates for mental health charities, and holds talks and workshops in schools to raise awareness.

Mr Afolami, added “Sarah’s gifted and inspirational creative drive drew submissions for the charity art auction from across the arts world with ‘Samaritans’ camper vans skilfully rendered by the likes of Joe Lycett and Valerie Singleton.
So contagious is her passion that I, too, applied what artistic skill I could muster for my own submission. Thank you, Sarah, for bringing this vibrant and uplifting project to life. This support for the ‘Samaritans’ work will provide a lifeline for many in their moments of need.”

Sarah said: “I am thrilled ‘Samaritans’ has been recognised by the Prime Minister and feel truly honoured to receive his Points of Light award.
“The project was a team effort, I couldn’t have done it without the support of the local branch of ‘Samaritans’, all of the incredible artists who gave their time and talent, the local companies who sponsored it, and my partner David.

“The money raised will help so many people and I’m grateful I had an opportunity to give back to the charity that saved my life.”

Sarah is the 2239th recipient of the Points of Light award, which was first launched in April 2014 to recognise outstanding individuals making a positive change within their community and inspiring others.

Each weekday, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.

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