A TEACHER who suffers from epilepsy has described how discovering water colour painting has transformed his life and played a huge part in coming to terms with his condition.

Bob Sutcliffe took up the hobby shortly after suffering a heart attack in 2017, and since then has developed his skills at such a rate that he now raises thousands of pounds for charity, and he hopes his experiences will be an inspiration to fellow epilepsy sufferers.

“It is such a misunderstood condition and I would love to be able to raise awareness of epilepsy and how life can go on if you have the condition,” he said.

“Painting has been wonderful for me both mentally and physically and I honestly don’t know what I’d do without it.

“It has given me such a great sense of peace and purpose.”

Mr Sutcliffe, 48, who lives in Witherslack with his wife Jan, formerly worked for the Lake District National Park Authority before retraining as a teacher.

Despite suffering from epilepsy he was a very active person, doing triathlons and training for the London Marathon, but his life changed following his heart attack.

He had to curtail his strenuous physical activities, and in an effort to find a replacement interest, his brother James bought him a watercolour set.

It proved to be a master stroke in more ways than one, because though he had never engaged in art since his school days, he took to painting quickly, and though his work initially circulated among family and friends, word spread and he began to take on commissioned work.

Unfortunately, since his heart attack Mr Sutcliffe has had to endure continued medical problems which have seen him suffer a number of seizures and a series of injuries including broken wrists.

But he was determined to prevent these problems from stopping him developing his full potential as an artist, and eventually decided to put his skills to even better use and began producing paintings for charity, many themed around the Lake District.

And incredibly, he has now raised more than £40,000 for a range of deserving causes including Epilepsy Action, Support Dogs for people with disabilities, mental health training for a community school in Africa, the British Heart Foundation, Children with Cancer and also a range of local charities.

Interestingly, a high proportion of his paintings have resulted from requests from people who he does not know personally but who have contacted him via social media with requests, often after they have themselves suffered illness or personal problems.

He has now built up an impressive portfolio of work, and many of those paintings will now be on show next month at Wilf’s cafe venue in Staveley.

And Mr Sutcliffe hopes those who view the exhibition will be inspired like him to face their problems and find their way to a better life.

To view more of Mr Sutcliffe’s work, visit his website at www.bobonpaintings.com.