Artist’s appeal sets the ball rolling

Anne White (left) and Kate Shepherd at Cocoa, with the pom-poms
Anne White (left) and Kate Shepherd at Cocoa, with the pom-poms

Chocolate shop owners Anne White and Kate Shepherd have always enjoyed their job but right now they’re having a ball!

Eager to help local artist Tony Broomhead, they volunteered to act as a drop-off point for contributors to his pom-pom art installation.

But the collection snowballed – and now the back room of their Cocoa shop in Ecclesall Road is fast disappearing beneath a mountain of woolly balls.

“We can’t believe how popular it’s been,” says Kate.

“We have dozens of pom-poms, not just from Sheffield but literally from all over the world. We’ve had parcels delivered from Newcastle, Barcelona in Spain and even one from Peachtree City in Georgia, USA.”

Sheffield has done its bit too with customers in the Cocoa café and the local knit club churning out pom-poms thick and fast, along with children on their school holidays.

Contributors have ranged from seven-year-old Holly, who donated her first-ever pom-pom, to Lord Mayor of Sheffield Coun Sylvia Dunkley.

And it is not just woolly pom-poms that are arriving: some are made from lace or torn fabric. “We’re even hoping to make one out of strawberry bootlaces!” says Kate.

The final date for donations is tomorrow (Friday) when the entire collection will be handed over to Tony, of Banner Cross. He has big plans for the balls: “We’re going to build a house of pom-poms!”

The project began after Tony made a giant bobble hat for a Leeds community project. When the hat was stolen, sympathetic members of the public volunteered to help create a replacement, triggering the avalanche of support.