Virtual exhibition

OUR weekly meetings have had to be suspended during the coronavirus crisis but that doesn't mean members have stopped painting. We'd like to create a 'virtual' art exhibition of photographs of members' work for an album on our Facebook page and a carousel of images here on the web page. So keep painting!

Edwin Hirst: A personal tribute

OUR chairman, Roger Brown, has written the following appreciation of the life of Edwin Hirst, who died on June 24:

“It was with great sadness that I learned that our beloved friend and former Chairman, Edwin, had passed away. Edwin had been in hospital in Chester for some weeks, and slipped quietly away with his daughter Judith and her husband at his side. He would have been 92 in July.

“As a member of the Art Group I only really got to to know him when I joined in 2011; I know that many of you knew him for much longer. Together with the late Bill Church, he started the SAG in 2008. Under this leadership the group soon established an enviable reputation for both the quality of the work produced and the friendliness of the members (qualities which I am proud to say still exist today).

“Prior to this Edwin was heavily involved in the corn trade and was head of the Yorkshire Corn Merchants. A warehouse on Thornes Wharf, opposite the Hepworth, still bears the family name. Edwin was elected to Wakefield City Council in 1961 until 1974. During this time he and Kathleen served as deputy mayor and mayoress. As a councillor, he attended his first Queen’s Garden Party. Edwin was also a magistrate from 1972 to 1977. He recalled that during this time he heard many strange and wonderful stories. Being aware of Edwin’s impish sense of humour, I would imagine that on occasions he would have found it difficult to keep a straight face!

“As if this wasn’t enough, Wakefield Hospice asked him to become the hospice appeal fundraising manager. With his usual efficiency and enthusiasm, Edwin raised £1million in the first two years and was instrumental in opening two Hospice shops. Following the first sod cutting ceremony for the Hospice by Lord St Oswald, Edwin and Kathleen attended their second Queen’s Garden Party,

In 1993 Edwin became involved with the Macmillan Nurses fund. He was tasked with raising funds for two nurses; in typical Edwin manner he secured funding for five nurses and a doctor. As a recent magazine article stated, ‘another job well done’. Indeed it was. In recognition of these works, in 2018 Edwin was awarded a well-deserved BritIsh Empire Medal, receiving this from the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire at a ceremony at Tatton Hall.

“As members will recall, a few years ago Edwin and Kathleen left Wakefield to live in a most attractive retirement complex in the centre of Chester. This brought them closer to Judith. Even so, they still were guests of honour at our regular fuddles, a tradition that Kathleen hopes to maintain. A number of us visited Edwin and Kathleen in Chester, to be royally welcomed and entertained. We hoped that this would have become a regular event but due to Edwin’s deteriorating health unfortunately this was not to be.

“I have many happy memories of Edwin. Not only did he finally persuade me to take over as chairman of our magnificent painting group, but he introduced me to Probus, a gentlemen’s group where he was a member of many years standing. I never experienced anything other than his politeness, kindness and gentle humour. There is no better accolade I can think of than to say that Edwin was a ‘true gentleman’. RIP Edwin 

Our photo shows Roger with Edwin at a SAG event.

Art Group donates £500 to help The Spring

Sandal Art Group has presented a cheque for £500 to The Spring Community Café and Shop to help it with its work providing meals to vulnerable families.

The cheque was handed to The Spring manager Catherine Moxham (left) yesterday by Art Group treasurer Mary Hampton, who is also one of the team of volunteers packing bags of food.

Mary said: “The Spring has produced more than 500 meals, which go down really well with the recipients. They may also use some of the money for protective screens and equipment that will be needed to enable them to re-open the shop in the not too distant future.”

SAG chairman Roger Brown added: “Lockdown regulations have required Sandal Art Group to suspend our weekly painting sessions at the West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club. However, even though we are effectively ‘in hibernation’, the group wishes to recognise and support the valuable community help and assistance provided by local Sandal residents and organisations.

“We have already helped finance Art Group member Elizabeth Hampton and her team who are producing scrubs for Pinderfields Hospital. Sandal Art Group is now delighted to provide £500 towards the ongoing costs of maintaining the valuable community services provided by The Spring. Even though these premises are also in lockdown, volunteers and staff are able to prepare and distribute meals for vulnerable families in the district. An excellent initiative worthy of our support.”

Before the lockdown, the Art Group was holding its popular fuddles at The Spring where members were always made to feel very welcome.


Aviation art accolade for chairman

SAG chairman Roger Brown has gained the distinction of being elected an Associate of the Guild of Aviation Artists. He has been a Friend Member, allowing him to submit paintings for the Guild’s prestigious annual exhibition at the Mall Gallery in London.

The standard is high and artists have to have had work accepted in three of the Guild's exhibitions over a six-year period to qualify as an Associate. Roger’s latest painting depicts Imperial Airways Handley Page HP42 ‘Hannibal’, a luxurious trendsetter of the early 1930s, over St Paul’s Cathedral. Roger, who trained as an architect and also earned his private pilot’s licence, is an aviation enthusiast as well as a talented artist. He said: “I’ve worked over the past four years towards being elected an Associate and I’m absolutely delighted it’s now happened.”

His art is not confined to aviation.  It includes a number of local views and his specially painted watercolour snowscene of a tram outside the Castle pub on Barnsley Road formed the SCA’s 2019 Christmas card.

Autumn fuddle marks three 90th birthdays


OUR 2019 autumn fuddle at The Spring Community Cafe became an extra special event because it celebrated the 90th birthdays of three of our members - Barbara Brookes, Mary Wells and George Ward. Barbara (on the right of our photo) and Mary were there to cut the cake but unfortunately George was unable to be present.


Group's founders join us for festive lunch

GUESTS of honour at our Christmas fuddle at The Spring were SAG founder Edwin Hirst and his wife Kathleen, who travelled from their new home in Chester to be with us. The Spring team took a bow when they were were congratulated by Roger for providing such an excellent three-course turkey lunch - plus mince pies, of course!