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Monday, 21 April 2014

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Stroke survivor’s art talent on show

A STROKE survivor who overcame her disabilities to carve out a name as a successful artist is set to exhibit her work to raise money for charity.

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ARTIST: Stroke survivor Maggie Turbitt, of Urswick, who be showing her work at the Prom Art in Grange. Above left, an example of her work

Maggie Turbitt, 48, will showcase her oil paintings at Prom Art in Grange once a week from this Sunday, until the end of the event in September.

Ms Turbitt, of Church Road, Urswick, suffered brain damage and lost the use of part of the right side of her body when she suffered a stroke in 2007, so had to train herself to write left-handed.

The former ward sister at Furness General Hospital had never picked up a paintbrush in her life, but inspired by watching Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting and with encouragement from her sister, she enrolled in a course and took up the hobby.

Since then, she has become a celebrated artist and her paintings, many of which are views and landscapes of beauty spots in the area, have been exhibited in Urswick Village Hall and some hang in her local pub, the General Burgoyne.

Ms Turbitt said: “Having a stroke made me feel useless. I couldn’t do things. You lose all of your confidence when something like that happens because all of a sudden everything is so different and you get frustrated that you can’t do things. It’s like therapy for me. It’s a good distraction. You can lose yourself concentrating on something else.

“The first time I sold a painting I could not believe someone wanted to buy it.”

Ms Turbitt paints once a week with her friend and has transformed her conservatory into a studio. She has to re-take courses in painting around twice a year due to problems with memory loss as a result of the stroke.

It was Ms Turbitt’s sister Sonjie Marshall, who lives with and cares for her, who first suggested she display her work at Prom Art. She said: “I thought it would be a good way to show how much my sister has achieved. I am very proud of her.”

This weekend, the pair will set up a gazebo on Grange’s promenade with the help of friends, where Ms Turbitt will display her work and give demonstrations to raise money for the Stroke Association.

Ms Turbitt also hopes that by telling her story she can inspire others.

She said: “There might be other people in the same situation as myself who find escapism in it.”

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