Artist Mandy Shepherd supports the Hospice, raising funds through exhibitions and donating drawings and images. Here she explains her very personal motivation and inspiration for wanting to help.
My father was a successful artist, and as I grew up his exciting life inspired me to do the same. Initially I showed no signs of any talent whatsoever! However, one day I presented him with a painting of a fish and he loved it – he didn’t believe I had done it! His enthusiasm and sheer hard work was hugely infectious and like him I am lucky enough to have made a successful living as a wildlife and military artist over the last 30 years.
My late husband Charlie Vane was diagnosed with renal carcinoma in October 2014 and in February 2016 had been told he only had six months left to live. The staff at St Wilfrid’s were absolutely wonderful and gave Charlie and myself the unstinting support that we needed through this incredibly difficult time. The Hospice at Home Team became a constant during these last months of his life and he died peacefully in August 2016.
St Wilfrid’s were a wonderful part of our lives and it was very timely that the DREAMBUILDING Project was well underway – there was no better way for me to be able to make a valued contribution than through my work. I held an Exhibition of drawings and paintings at Farbridge, West Dean, in June 2017. A few months later my daughter, Rosie, organised a Charity Cricket match on the Anniversary of his death and between us we were able to make a substantial contribution.
In addition, I have also donated original drawings and made available images for prints and cards in my ongoing efforts to remain supportive of the fundraising.
Looking after Charlie and then losing my father soon after affected me deeply. The Exhibition at Farbridge was tough, but I knew there was no room for self-pity when the needs of the Hospice were far greater than mine. The hardest thing is being alone in a studio with ones thoughts. I am so lucky to be part of a large family with my precious three daughters and three wonderful step-children, who between them are my rock.
We owe a huge amount to St Wilfrid’s - they an integral part of the most challenging time in our lives. My memory of the time we spent there, reminds me how fragile life is and that we should enjoy and value the sun shining and the birds singing each and EVERY day and the beautiful planet we live on. Thank you, St Wilfrid’s.