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Painting produces pounds for hospice

Morris Men in full regalia paid a visit to a local hospice to hand over money raised from sales of a greetings card.
Eric and Simon with Michelle Gower resized (cropped)
Susan Harrison painted pictures of the Blackmore Morris dancers many times and one of her pictures was then used for a greetings card sold across Brentwood and now also sold by Saint Francis Hospice at their kiosk in the hospice in Havering-atte-Bower.

Eric and Simon in regalia resized
Simon Tarrant, the "Squire" or Chairman of the Blackmore Morris side (on the right in the picture) and Eric Harrison, the Treasurer, and husband of artist Susan Harrison, handed over a cheque for £380 to Michelle Gower from the fundraising team at Saint Francis Hospice. 

Eric explained why they wanted to help Saint Francis Hospice: "Susan had ovarian cancer and suffered with five bouts of severe sickness over a period of 17 years. We counted ourselves  lucky that there were big gaps between those bouts of severe illness but unfortunately the last one in 2014 was too much and we knew that Susan didn't have long to live. Fortunately we were able to get fantastic support from Saint Francis Hospice."

He continued: "They sent their community nurses to check on Susan at home on a regular basis and sort out her medication, the OT team (Occupational Therapy) supplied us with lots of types of equipment to keep Susan comfortable at home including special seats and wheelchairs, and during Susan's final days nurses from the Hospice at Home team were with us, including some overnight stays. One of the best things was that the hospice provided a number that I could call at any time to help explain what was happening to Susan and why."

"I knew about the work of the hospice and had even run the London Marathon for them some years ago now but after seeing the work they put in to help us last year I wanted to put something back. Saint Francis Hospice had also looked after one of our Morris dancers in his final days last year, so the Morris side were keen to help. The idea of selling cards started at Susan's funeral and with the help of another member of our Morris side, Colin Cater, who runs a company called Hedingham Fair which markets cards and other folk based items, we were able to get a thousand cards produced using one of Susan's paintings and have already sold 750 of them," said Eric.

Eric and Simon in regalia resized
Michelle Gower from the Fundraising team at Saint Francis Hospice said: "We are so grateful to Blackmore Morris for their kind donation, and for turning up at the hospice fully dressed and ready to dance!"

Blackmore Morris will be performing their traditional New Year's Day Cotswold Morris dance at the Leather Bottle pub in Blackmore at 1pm on New Year's Day. To find out more about this Morris side go to www.blackmoremorris.org.uk. 

Pictured: Eric Harrison (left) and Simon Tarrant from Blackmore Morris dancers put on an impromptu performance outside the Saint Francis Hospice.

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