A Saddleworth artist who supported homelessness charity Emmaus Mossley for 18 years has received a special medal to recognise her outstanding contribution.

On Wednesday 3rd August, artist Tonie Rigby was presented with an Emmaus UK Founders’ Medal in recognition of her long-standing involvement and impact at the charity. Tonie was joined at the presentation ceremony by her family, the Emmaus Mossley community and members of two voluntary groups she helped to establish.

Commenting on the recognition, Tonie said: “I’ve loved my time at Emmaus Mossley. I found the experience of being involved at Emmaus enriching and fulfilling. I am so pleased to have been at the start of the Art Group and the Upcycling Group, and it’s so lovely to have seen Emmaus grow and thrive throughout my time here.”

Emmaus Mossley supports 26 formerly homeless people by providing them with a home, work, companionship and individual support. Soon after the charity opened, Tonie became artist in residence and started a weekly art group in 2002 for artists from the local area and residents of Emmaus Mossley.

Off the back of the success of the art group, Tonie launched a weekly upcycling group in 2012. Ever since, volunteers have worked together to produce new products from the abundant items and materials donated to Emmaus, to then sell and give inspiration to Emmaus shoppers.

Alison Hill, Director of Emmaus Mossley, said: “Tonie’s contribution, both with the Art Group and Upcycling Group, has brought many benefits to Emmaus Mossley. Tonie was from a background of community arts and adult education so instilled on both groups a culture of collaboration, sharing and inclusivity.

“Under Tonie’s guidance, both groups have extended the network of Emmaus supporters and helped to embed creativity and reuse within our community. Due to the strong foundations that Tonie established, both the Art Group and Upcycling Group have remerged following the pandemic and are as active as ever. We are hugely appreciative of Tonie’s contribution and the positive impact she has had on many people at Emmaus Mossley.”

In 2020, Tonie retired from both groups but her legacy and impact at Emmaus Mossley lives on. Tonie continues to produce artwork and paints daily in her Saddleworth home studio. Her artwork is primarily in acrylic on canvas, linen, paper and board, produced for individuals, galleries and solo shows.

To view Tonie’s recent artwork, visit https://theforgottengallery.online/tonie-rigby

To find out more and support Emmaus Mossley head to https://emmaus.org.uk/mossley/.