29 year old, mother of seven Ashlee Holt from Idle has been celebrated as The Broadway’s final ‘Local Hero’.
Nominated by her husband, Matthew Holt, Ashlee has been awarded for her incredible and compassionate efforts in her local community. Ashlee is the lady behind ‘Tribe Rock Remembugs’, an organisation that handpaints rocks in memory of those who have passed.
Ashlee transforms small rocks into ‘Remembugs’ and members of the community can choose to have the name of a loved one fixed to the stone alongside a poem that encourages finders of the rock to pick it up and ‘take me on your travels and tell my story to those you meet’.
People who pick up the stone join the ‘Tribe Rock Remembugs’ Facebook page and can document the journey the sentimental rock goes on for the family to see.
Ashlee commented: “I paint the Remembugs in small batches and announce via the Facebook page that they’re ready to be named after loved ones. I then pop the name of the person on the rock with a poem so that the person who has passed can continue their journey in the world through lots of different people. The person who named the rock can see the journey their loved one goes on as the finder posts updates.
“I usually pop the rocks by the canal in Bradford, and update the Facebook page to say there are Remembugs to be found and taken on their own unique journey. I’ve had rocks that have travelled to see the sights in South Africa, and one special Remembug that was named after a stillborn baby named Enzo, who got to experience Disneyland Florida after a family who found the Remembug packed it in their case.
“I love what I do as it brings so much joy to the families that give their loved one’s name to a Remembug. I started in 2019 when a friend of mine lost her baby, Alf and Remembugs has grown from there. I don’t accept any payment for the stones and I even have a lady who runs an American version of Remebugs from Illinois.
“Before the pandemic I was painting around 75 stones per week, but as people weren’t really picking up things during the lockdown our Remembugs didn’t travel far. Now that families are out and about exploring again, we’re seeing our stones go far and wide.”
Ashlee paints the stones with help from her children. The eyes to the Remembug are the last thing that is painted just before the stone is placed outside to start its journey.
Ian Ward, general manager at The Broadway, said: “The joy and comfort Ashlee brings to families that have lost a loved one is immeasurable. Her kindness and commitment to helping others is inspiring, particularly when everything she does is for free and simply to bring a smile to other people’s faces.”
The shopping centre has been running a campaign since early 2021 to celebrate the region’s unsung heroes with a winner each month awarded with a £250 shopping voucher.