Continuing Bonds with Alan

“I felt as though he was speaking to me from out of the canvas.” Eleanor, Alan’s wife

Portraits with Purpose: Continuing Bonds is a collaboration between St Oswald’s Hospice and Local Artist, Leanne Pearce. Working with 12 bereaved and pre-bereaved families who have accessed our bereavement support service and/or other care services, Leanne has created stunning portraits of their loved ones to support them in their ‘continuing bonds’ process. Here is the story of one of the families who took part in this unique and beautiful project.

Sixteen-year-old Eleanor was playing 5-a-side football as an Air Cadet when she first met Alan, who was performing in the Tyneside Scottish Pipe Band as part of what was then called the Territorial Army.

According to Eleanor, she immediately knew the 18-year-old was the “man for her.”

The couple married in 1971 and settled in Chapel Park. They had two children, Lisa and Glenn.

In 2005, Alan was diagnosed with bowel cancer and underwent treatment for the next 3 years.

When Alan was referred to St Oswald’s Hospice, Eleanor described the end-of-life care he received as “amazing”.

“The nurses were so kind and positive in everything they did.”

Eleanor, Alan’s wife

Alan spent 4 weeks at St Oswald’s Hospice Adult Inpatient Service. He died in August 2008, surrounded by his family. Alan was 59.

Eleanor joined a bereavement support group at the hospice afterwards and is still in touch with friends she met there.

She has always felt a “deep connection” to St Oswald’s Hospice and described being there as “like a warm hug”. For the last 13 years, she has volunteered as a ward helper, in fundraising and at numerous events.

Eleanor is “honoured” to be part of Portraits with Purpose: Continuing Bonds and when she saw Alan’s portrait, she felt as though “he was speaking to me from out of the canvas.”

In an earlier meeting, Leanne and Eleanor agreed the background should be a khaki colour to reflect Alan’s military service.

Our care: Adult Inpatient Service and Bereavement Support

Visit our Portraits with Purpose: Continuing Bonds exhibition

Opening during Dying Matters Awareness Week, Portraits with Purpose: Continuing Bonds exhibition will be on display at Newcastle Civic Centre 10th – 17th May, 2024 (exc Sunday) on the following days and times:

• 9.30am – 4.30pm weekdays

• 10am – 3pm Saturday

There will also be a special Meet the Artist event 11am – 2pm on Saturday 11th May.

Find out more about the project and read other families’ stories below.

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