Epileptic painter from Lancashire donates thousands to charity after selling painted cards in Booths
A teacher from Lancashire who taught himself to paint after suffering a heart attack has this week been able to donate £15,000 to a Leukemia charity from the sale of his hand-painted cards in Booths stores across the county
After a heart attack back in 2017, teacher Bob Sutcliffe has used his experience to raise over £150,000 for different charities and inspire other sufferers of the condition.
He had once been fit and active, training for the London marathon before he began experiencing chest pains at work and then suffering a series of mini-heart attacks that would change his life and his mobility.
At age 36 he was diagnosed with epilepsy but managed the condition medication before his heart attacks a decade later which kickstarted another period of seizures.
But when his brother James bought him a set of watercolour paints and brushes, the 50-year-old teacher began to explore his artistic flair and paint scenes from across the county on cards and was inspired to set up 'Bob On Paintings'.
Having now raised more than £150,000 for a variety of charities from his creations over the past four years, Bob's recent donation of £15,000 to Cure Leukemia was made possible by shoppers who bought his painted cards in Booths stores across the county.
Bob said: "After my heart attack I had to take time off work and found myself not doing anything. I just didn't know what to do with myself because I had been so fit and active before it, which was really difficult and upsetting.
"I began exploring with the watercolour paints and my wife came home from work one day and thought what I had done was amazing. From there, it led to other people asking me to paint their dogs and landscapes for them, from which I used the money to donate to charity.
"I hadn't ever considered myself to be artistic and had never sat and painted anything before but it really helped me as part of my recovery. A lot of people really struggle with grieving their former life after a life-changing incident like a heart attack, so painting was a great outlet for me and provided me with mindfulness and a real source of comfort."
He then began printing his paintings on cards which were first sold in the Kendal Booths store, with all of the profits going to charities of Bob's choice, such as the British Heart Foundation and Epilepsy Action.
And now, up to 700 cards a week are sold in all 27 stores across Lancashire, Cumbria, Yorkshire and Cheshire, with 6,000 now having been sold since January.
Each store stocks a unique range of his painted designs to the local area, featuring popular scenes from across Lancashire, such as Clitheroe castle and Penwortham Bridge.
Recent sales have been donated to Cure Leukaemia as the chief operating officer Nigel Murray rallied staff round to cycle a tour of Booths stores to raise money for the charity next month.
Bob, who now teaches on a 1-1 basis across Preston, Blackburn and the rest of the county, added: "I didn't want to make money from the cards and wanted my time painting them to be completely voluntary.
"Booths have been amazing and really on board in supporting me and the cause. They were extremely supportive of me selling my cards in their stores and donating all the money to different charities and have been committed to making it happen.
"The response from people has been amazing, and the money has also been able to support causes local to each store, such as youth projects in Ulverston and equipment for an autism unit in Burscough.
"For me, painting has been a great source of comfort during the lockdowns when others have been stuck with nothing to do. I have gained so many more positive things than negative from my heart attack even though it was potentially life-threatening.
"I hope people are inspired to know that when you feel things are lost, you just don't know what opportunities are around the corner. For me, there was a real opportunity to learn something new and make a difference to other people through donations."
'Bob on Painting' cards are available to buy from all Booths stores in the North West, with all profits going to a range of charities.
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