Award for new artist

A MAN who had never picked up a paintbrush before has today won a national competition, with his first piece of work.Kevin Stevens, a user of Sue Ryder Care's The Chantry, had to be persuaded to enter the competition by staff at the centre and was astounded when his work was chosen as the winner by judge Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.

A MAN who had never picked up a paintbrush before has today won a national competition, with his first piece of work.

Kevin Stevens, a user of Sue Ryder Care's The Chantry, had to be persuaded to enter the competition by staff at the centre and was astounded when his work was chosen as the winner by judge Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.

Mr Stevens said: “I was amazed, I couldn't believe it but felt so proud.

“I would not have done anything like this before coming to The Chantry.

“The support from staff and the activities I take part in have helped me gain confidence with my speech and to socialise with people. “When I got home mum and I contacted family and friends and people have not stopped congratulating me since.”

His work was chosen as the winner of the charity's Art Liberating Lives competition at a special event at London's Mall galleries last week.

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People had been asked to paint 'what Sue Ryder Care meant to them' and TV star Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen was immediately struck with Mr Steven's watercolour, entitled The Knot Garden.

He said: “Selecting a final winning entry was a difficult task but The Knot Garden summed up such hope for me, I was instantly struck with it.”

Mr Stevens, 44, of Stradbroke, has been attending The Chantry to help with his rehabilitation from a brain injury, and he will now see his work turned in to a note card which will be sold in Sue Ryder shops across the country.

He will also receive an easel, on which to create future works.

Jo Marshall, The Chantry's manager, said: “Our residents and day service attendees have got so much out of taking part in this activity.

“Understanding the story behind the art which they have created, the tremendous effort shown and sense of achievement gained makes each piece all the more special.”

Have you triumphed in a national competition? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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