Cancer patient discovers hidden artistic talent

Bob Martin presents his picture to Barney Schofield, Director of Transformation and Innovation at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust
Bob Martin presents his picture to Barney Schofield, Director of Transformation and Innovation at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust
  • Former trucker took up paiting after his diagnosis
  • He’d previously been a keen hill walker
  • The grandfather, 73, has donated one of his creations to the hospital where he received treatment
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A former truck driver from St Helens discovered an incredible talent for art after he was diagnosed with cancer.

Bob Martin underwent radiotherapy at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust in Wirral.

The art started as a hobby but it has really helped me and it fills the gap left by hill walking

Patient Bob Martin

The 73-year-old had never had any interest in art before his bowel cancer diagnosis in 2010.

Before his diagnosis he had been a keen climber but when his illness stopped that hobby he took up painting instead.

Now the grandfather has presented a piece of his work to medics at the hospital where he was treated.

Bob hopes the gift will provide inspiration for the hospital’s doctors and nurses.

The painting shows Captain Noel Chavasse on the battlefield in World War I.

The son of the Bishop of Liverpool, Chavasse was a surgeon in Liverpool at the Royal Southern Hospital. He was also a talented athlete who ran 400m in the 1908 Olympics.

When war broke out he was attached to the 10th Battalion King’s (Liverpool Regiment), known as Liverpool Scottish, and was awarded the Victoria Cross on two occasions for saving lives on the battlefield.

He was the only person to get the VC twice in the Great War.

Chavasse was hit in the head at Passchendaele Ridge in Belgium in 1917, an injury that led to his death. Despite his condition he continued to treat the wounded under very heavy fire.

The painting shows the army medic with his injured head.

Bob said: “As an ex-army man Noel Chavasse was one of my heroes. To get the Victoria Cross twice is unprecedented.

“I hope this picture will inspire medical students when they see the bravery of Chavasse.”

Bob’s interest in art was largely sparked by his involvement in the St Helens Cancer Support Group, who meet twice a week in the town.

Retired lorry driver Bob said: “I made a good friend through the group and was helping her move some stuff from her house. She had some old paints and brushes. I thought ‘I might give that a go’ and it just started there.

“The art started as a hobby but it has really helped me and it fills the gap left by hill walking.”

Earlier this year Bob showed his work at The World of Glass in St Helens, making £260 through sales of his paintings for The Clatterbridge Cancer Charity.

Barney Schofield, Director of Transformation and Innovation, accepted the painting on behalf of The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.

He said: “We’re really grateful to Bob and his colleagues from the St Helens support group for all the support they give to cancer patients and to The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.

“We’re honoured that Bob has donated this original art work and look forward to displaying it in our hospital. Both the subject and the artist are inspirational figures to so many.”

To find out more about The St Helens Cancer Support Group see www.sthelenscancersupportgroup.org.uk