Disabled grandmother paints festive mural to turn her kitchen into a winter wonderland

Kirsty Rea had no room for a Christmas tree when the grandkids moved in, so she got creative

Thursday, 23rd December 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd December 2021, 7:34 pm

A disabled grandmother whose house was “bursting at the seams” found a solution when she didn’t have room for a Christmas tree.

Kirsty Rea, 48, transformed her kitchen into a winter wonderland, thanks to a hidden talent she nurtured in lockdown.

Kirsty, of Durham Road, said; “When the grandkids came to live here in July I had to convert the lounge into a bedroom - there’s just no room for a tree so I had to get creative.”

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Kirsty Rea, 48, sat in her wheelchair in front of the artwork she painted by hand

The former hotelier hand-painted the festive mural from her wheelchair. The piece measures around 13ft x 6ft and shows Father Christmas in a snow-capped forest. It also has three trees - decorated by Wynter, 1, and Kymberley, 2.

Having given up art after high school, the mum-of-three turned to painting as therapy when a rare illness left her in a wheelchair in 2012.

She has Cauda Equina Syndrome which causes sudden severe compression of the lower spine.

Surgery was unsuccessful and she gradually lost the ability to walk. But a successful neck operation meant she kept the use of her arms.

The canvas is a tribute to the NHS workers who worked during the pandemic

“Art was something I could do without having to ask anyone for help. I was getting very depressed after I gave up work and this gave me freedom. It really was my lifeline.”

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Kirsty also lives with her partner, Helen Pace, 44, and two of her children, Joseph, 15, and Olivia, 21. She moved here from Leicester when she bought the Aloha hotel in 2010.

She started out by screwing canvasses to the gates, but a college course at Blackpool Fylde College helped her find the confidence to paint without hesitation. She graduated in June 2021,

She began a Fine Art degree course in September, but after 12 weeks her funding stopped and she couldn’t afford to continue.

“It’s okay because I can still do what I love, but I put in so much work. I just really want to do good with my art, and I’d like to get out and brighten up the forgotten parts of Blackpool.”

Kirsty’s back gate on Granville Road currently has a mural of Santa and baby Jesus.

She shares regular pictures on her social media, under the name ‘ThewayIroll’.