Preston artist's touching mental health fund-raiser in tribute to friend who took her own life

A Preston artist is raising money for a mental health charity in tribute to her friend, who took her own life last fortnight.
Preston artist Charlotte Fisher is raffling off a piece of art to raise money for mental health charity Mind in tribute to her friend, who took her own life last fortnight.Preston artist Charlotte Fisher is raffling off a piece of art to raise money for mental health charity Mind in tribute to her friend, who took her own life last fortnight.
Preston artist Charlotte Fisher is raffling off a piece of art to raise money for mental health charity Mind in tribute to her friend, who took her own life last fortnight.

Charlotte Fisher, of Fulwood, is raffling off a piece of art that was requested by a long-term friend before she died.

The 26-year-old will donate the money to Mind, and hopes her good deed will encourage other people to speak out about their problems before it is too late.

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Commenting on the news of her friend's death, she said: "It was a shock. No-one knew she was going through these issues. We'd spoken recently and she said everything was fine in lock-down and that she was glad I was doing something with my talent.

"Then I found out the news and it really hit home. You just don't know what people are going through."

Charlotte added: "She'd ordered the canvas as she said it would make her feel happy. She wanted something green and earthy, like a sunset with happy vibes.

"So after I heard the news I thought, 'I still need to make this piece but I didn't know what to do with it."

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That's when she decided to raffle it off to raise money for Mind, which she adds is close to her heart as it has helped many of her loved ones.

And for Charlotte, who works at Community Gateway Association, creating art has offered her a way to express herself during lock-down.

"I've always loved art - it takes you somewhere else and suddenly three hours have gone by," she said.

"It's calming and I enjoy doing abstract pieces as they can be interpreted in so many different ways by different people.

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"My style tends to be very bright, and that reflects who I am, as I'm a happy person. This particular piece is very raw.

"To make people feel a certain way through art is quite empowering. People have said my work is very calming and takes you to another place, while others have said one of my pieces is aggressive. I can see why because it's red and has slashes across it but I was feeling calm when I did it!"

And to use her art to support a charity that is important to her is even more special for Charlotte, who has smashed her £100 fund-raising target by amassing more than £200 within 24 hours and £430 so far.

She added: "It means a lot to be able to help other people. Mental illness affects one in four and you never know what people are going through. Going off social media posts and conversations, they can seem OK.

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"It's a difficult time for everyone as they're stuck at home with their own thoughts.

"I've had conversations with people about why they're donating and they've told me their personal stories, which made me cry. It's really overwhelming to hear why they're happy I'm doing this.

"The whole thing has really changed me. Losing a friend gave me a reality check and has taught me it's so important to check on people more often and to speak to people properly, face-to-face."

She also feels overwhelmed, she adds, by the amount of people who have got behind her mission by sharing her post and showing interest.

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"It's shown me that everyone, even strangers, want to get involved and speak to you. So many people want to help," she said.

Charlotte launched her art business at the start of lock-down after designing a canvas for her bedroom, which she was redecorating. She then made more as a way to beat boredom and one of her friends was so impressed when she put pictures online that he requested to buy one for himself. More orders soon came thick and fast and she has now sold five canvasses.

"It was the pick-up I needed," she said.

"I never really thought about art as a career. I just thought, 'Go to school, get a job etc.'

"It's taken me by massive surprise. So when people outside my family and friends started asking for some, I thought, 'This is getting crazy.'"

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But her flair for art presented itself early in Charlotte's life when she won a Lancashire Post competition at age 10.

Raffle tickets cost £5 each and can be ordered by contacting Charlotte on her art Instagram page @charllart_

The winner will be named on Monday, June 1.