Ex-Preston teacher overcomes epilepsy and heart attack to raise £15,000 for charity with hand-painted charity cards
Blackburn-born Bob Sutcliffe, who taught in Preston for 10 years, first started painting in 2017. Struggling to recover from a heart attack, his brother gave him a set of watercolours which changed his life, leading to him starting to paint commissions for friends and later to turn those paintings into charity cards.
“I was at a pretty low ebb in my life," said Bob, 50. "Painting saved me; it occupied my mind and gave me the chance to recover and discover I had a skill. My brother gave more than a set of paints that day, he gave me back my life and I’m determined to make a difference with that gift.”
Keen to give something back, Bob - who was diagnosed with epilepsy at 36 - reached out to Booths COO Nigel Murray through Nigel's wife Sue, herself a lifelong friend of Bob's. The two soon struck up a deal and, to date, Bob's cards have so far raised £150,000, with 10% of the profits going to charity.
“The great thing about the cards is I can select some smaller and lesser-known charities to support locally," said Bob. "There is a flexibility to fundraising this way that is 'un-corporate' and allows me to make meaningful connections to charities and people I have a genuine connection and affinity with.”
Bob has also teamed up with Booths to support Cure Leukaemia via Nigel's 'Tour O’Booths' challenge, which will see him cycle the full Tour de France course this summer
“I like to joke with Nigel that I have raised £15,000 for the Tour without turning a single pedal!" said Bob. "I will be joining him on the Tour O’ Booths and he’ll have a laugh about my electric bike but, thanks to my painting, my fundraising is a lot less gruelling.
“Painting has been a comfort and salvation over lockdown and I’m lucky to have such rich landscapes and subjects on my lakeland doorstep," he added. "Painting, doing good with something that does me good is an excellent way to life.”
'Bob on Painting' cards are available to buy from all Booths stores in the North West.