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Painter Ian has overcome illness to win art award
1:00pm Monday 11th March 2013 in News
A PAINTING of a rural scene near the Malvern Hills has won a prize for an artist and writer who has fought serious illness in recent years.
Ian Fearnside, aged 64, entered his picture Corner of a Field Near Malvern in an art competition run for over-60s by the Elderly Accommodation Counsel.
He was delighted to hear the painting was deemed the best landscape in the experienced artist category of the EAC National Art Award Scheme.
Mr Fearnside, who for many years ran an art shop on Belle Vue Terrace, has been dogged by ill-health for the last few years, including a diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer which only gave him six months to live.
Although the diagnosis was later changed to pancreatitis, it left him paralysed from the waist down and it took him months in a hospital and then a nursing home to learn to walk again.
After a few months of recovery, he became aware of a creeping paralysis, and he became virtually quadriplegic.
The specialist spinal unit at Cheltenham hospital found a vertebra in his neck had broken up and was trapping his spinal cord.
Doctors carried out a new procedure to replace the broken vertebra with a carbon-steel mesh that new bone can grow into.
He said: “The spinal team were amazed and delighted at how successful it was. After another year of physiotherapy,I was able to walk and eventually to write and paint again.
“Painting and writing have always been an essential part of my life and it was wonderful when I was able to get back to my easel.
“Painting constantly improved my manual dexterity and I find being involved in creating a painting is a perfect way to get rid of depression and self-pity.
“Recently however I have suffered a minor stroke and pneumonia, so the battle continues,” he said.
As a result of this, he had to miss the prize-giving event at the House of Lords in London.
The EAC is a national charity that helps older people make informed decisions about meeting their housing and care needs. It has run its annual art competition since 1994.