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Brave artist wins award for painting
A PAINTING of a rural scene near the Malvern Hills has won a prize for an artist and writer who was given six months to live.
Ian Fearnside, aged 64, entered his picture Corner of a Field Near Malvern in an art competition run for over-60s by the Elderly Accom-modation Counsel.
And 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 in Belle Vue Terrace and whose father owned a shop on the Tything, Worcester, 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 months in a hospital and then a nursing home to learn to walk again.
After just 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.
“I find being involved in creating a painting is a perfect way to get rid of depression and self-pity.
“Just recently, however, I have suffered a minor stroke and pneumonia, so the battle continues,” he said.