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// Real Residents

Retiree using his art skills to raise money for charity

FirstPort customer and self-taught artist Brian Francis, 89, has been putting his art skills to the test by selling his paintings to raise money for research into cancer.

Brian, a resident at FirstPort’s Brielen Court retirement development in Nottingham, began painting as a child but it wasn’t until he reached his 50th birthday that he rediscovered how much joy and comfort he gained from painting.

He said:

“For my 50th birthday, my family bought me an easel and some acrylic paints, which started the enthusiasm again.

“Really, it wasn’t until after my wife died and I moved up to the Lake District that I really started painting again. I joined the local art society and it really started to grow from there. I really did enjoy it. Sometimes, when painting or drawing, I can get completely absorbed in it and lost in time.”

Many of Brian’s paintings are of places he has visited on holiday, with his favourite painting being from his trip to Santorini, which he described as an “artist’s paradise”.

Brian decided to donate his paintings after attending a charity fundraiser at Brielen Court. He added:

“I wanted to help, and I kicked myself because I had all these paintings in my wardrobe gathering dust and I thought it was a marvelous opportunity to fundraise for Cancer Research.

I was able to display the paintings at the development and my neighbours and anyone visiting was able to put a donation in the charity box.

“They were only up from less than a week and as one was taken off the wall, we put another one up.”

By selling his paintings, Brian has managed to raise £250 for Cancer Research UK. It’s a charity that he says is close to his heart. He explained:

“Like so many families, my family has been affected by cancer. My mother died from cancer and my youngest daughter has had breast cancer.

“Cancer has affected my family enormously and anything that I can do or anything that anybody can do to help the research is so important. I struggle to put it into words how important I think it is.”

Brian says he’d be happy to do further fundraisers “if anybody wants them”.

He explained that many of the residents were surprised when they found out he could paint, adding:

“I don’t think many of them knew I painted. It was a complete shock to them.”

FirstPort’s Lance Concannon, the Development Manager at Brielen Court, added: “The residents, and visitors to Brielen Court, quickly snapped up the paintings. It’s been wonderful to see the funds raised from Brian’s artwork go to such a good cause.”