Continuing Bonds with Gordon

“I can see his cheeky, mischievous grin and that’s how I like to remember my brother.” Wendy, Gordon’s sister

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 paintings 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.

Gordon was diagnosed with a rare bone marrow cancer in 1997, aged 45. While it couldn’t be cured, it was ‘controlled’ with chemotherapy for over 13 years.

He and his sister, Wendy, were very close. Wendy regularly travelled from her home in Surrey to visit her brother and his partner, Allan, in Newcastle.

Gordon became an outpatient at St Oswald’s Hospice after he was diagnosed. He took part in craft classes and trips that took place at the time.

“Gordon was very creative and I treasure the beautiful silk scarf he made and painted for me while at the hospice. He enjoyed meeting and talking to the other patients.”

Wendy, Gordon’s sister.

When his condition deteriorated, Gordon was referred to St Oswald’s Hospice Adult Inpatient Service.

Wendy, who had been helping to care for her brother at his home, rushed to be by his side.

Gordon died at the hospice a week later on 7th March, 2011. He was 58.

Wendy reflected: “The hospice was the most wonderful sanctuary for him, Allan and me. It made such a difference during that terribly sad time. I will never forget that.”

On seeing Gordon’s portrait, Wendy was staggered by the likeness Leanne had captured.

“I can see his cheeky, mischievous grin and that’s how I like to remember my brother.”

Our care: Outpatients Service, Adult Inpatient Service

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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