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Artist’s family organise exhibition for hospice

7th June 2018

The family of a Droitwich artist is hoping to raise money for a local hospice at a special art exhibition to celebrate her work.

Josie Holland was looked after by St Richard’s Hospice at Home team before she died last September aged 91.

Mrs Holland – who lived in Droitwich for 18 years – was a prolific artist, attending twice weekly painting classes up until just two months before she died.

Mrs Fiona Heath, Josie’s daughter, explained : “It is testimony to her determination, strength of character and joy of being with people that my Mum carried on with her art almost right up until she died.”

In 2015, Mrs Holland was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  Following radiotherapy in Cheltenham, Josie was referred to St Richard’s and the Hospice at Home team – which enables patients to remain in their own home at the end of their life – in August 2018.

Mrs Heath continued : “We have arranged this exhibition to raise money for St Richard’s.  The help from the Hospice at Home team was invaluable, offering a package of care which gave both Mum and our family the support they needed at such a difficult time.  The assistance on offer 24 hours a day is priceless and with the current expansion of the Wildwood Drive building, raising money is even more important.  Mum would be so happy to think some of her work could be used to help repay all the care and kindness she received in her last months.”

Mrs Holland was born in December 1925 to a naval family.  Always interested in art she was accepted into The Glasgow School of Art in 1942; with the outbreak of the Second World War, Josie joined the Women’s Royal Air Force as a nurse trainee, qualifying as a radiographer.  She met her Medical Photographer husband Geoff, settling in Birmingham after the war.  Following Geoff’s death in 1999, Josie moved to be near daughter Fiona in Droitwich.

Mrs Heath concluded : “Mum’s sense of humour and grace never left her.  Our deepest thanks and appreciation go to the hospice who helped her smile in her last days.”

Many of Josie’s works have been included in exhibitions in Droitwich library over the years.

Barbara Dovey, Team Leader at Droitwich Library said : “Josie Holland was a passionate, amateur artist and we are delighted to be able to exhibit and offer for sale more than 50 of her works at this special event.  As well as canvasses, there will also be 12 of her sketchbooks on display.  Josie always experimented with many different mediums and an array of subjects.”

The exhibition – which is free to attend – will run from Wednesday 13 June until Friday 29 June at Droitwich Spa Library, Victoria Square, Worcester WR9 8DQ. It is available to view during normal library opening hours as well as during the library’s adult learning classes.