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East Lancashire Hospice patients' pictures show why life is for living
10:57am Tuesday 26th June 2012 in Leisure
POIGNANT black and white photographs reflecting what life means to patients at East Lancashire Hospice, have gone on exhibition.
Called “ghosts on canvas”, there are seven photographs in the series, showing a daffodil, a cup of tea, a plaster over written words including ‘kindness’ and ‘courage’, a lily, a trainer, love heart bunting, and and oil lamp with an egg timer.
Before his death from mouth cancer on Saturday, 80-year-old Greg Barratt from Mill Hill, Blackburn, would spend hours working with photographer Neil Derrett on his two images – a cup of tea and a trainer.
Neil, 47, from Haslingden, said: “Greg was an amazing man, so positive. I asked him what the hospice meant to him, and he said ‘a cup of tea.’ “I was confused at first, but then he explained that the hospice was always a happy place to visit, and the staff were always welcoming and always offered him a brew.”
The image of a trainer, with a £10 note in the place of the tongue, was inspired by a letter in response to Greg’s Lancashire Telegraph appeal for hospice donations.
The letter, reproduced next to the photograph, and reads: “Having read Greg’s appeal I felt I wanted to make a donation, however small.”
Neil, a Blackburn College student, added: “I decided to represent that letter with a pair of trainers, because a lot of people do sponsored runs and walks to raise money.
“All of the photographs have been inspired by poems and other literature given to me by patients, and I have interpreted that. So in a way, the words are more important that the pictures.”
Neil used a camera lens from the 1870s to create a dream-like and ghostly quality to the shots.
Day patient Bob Corless, 75, of Darwen, contributed to the work and said he was particularly inspired by the daffodil photograph.
He said: “I submitted a few spiritual words saying ‘life is for living, the soul cannot die’, and that’s what that daffodil says to me - the flower will die, but the seeds do not.”
Day patients Yvonne Hopwood and Mildred Ludlow, both said that the hospice ‘meant everything’ to them.
Yvonne, 87, of Blackburn, said: “It’s very, very friendly here. I look forward to coming once a week and having a laugh.”
Mildred, 82, also of Blackburn, said: “I’ve been coming two days a week for 18 months, and it’s given me more hope.
“You can have a chat with other patients.”