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Poignant art show to raise charity cash

PUBLISHED: 20:17 28 May 2008 | UPDATED: 10:31 12 July 2010

A man whose partner died three weeks before they were due to marry is holding an exhibition of her paintings to raise money for thrombosis charity Lifeblood.

A man whose partner died three weeks before they were due to marry is holding an exhibition of her paintings to raise money for thrombosis charity Lifeblood.

Andrew Culyer has set up a website in memory of Suffolk artist Sarah Pyefinch, who was just 44 when she tragically died from the illness a year ago. The couple had been together for 21 years and shared a home in Eye.

A talented student, she been expected to study art at university but elected to train as a riding instructor, at Redgrave, having moved to the area from Scotland when she was 17.

After qualifying, she worked as a groom at international level for BBC stalwarts Raymond Brooks-Ward and Stephen Hadley and other employers, combining her love of animals and art by drawing the horses and other creatures she saw around her.

Mr Culyer said it was only after changing jobs, and working in a tack shop at Eye, that she could afford to paint in earnest for the first time and display and sell her work. This gave her confidence and she became a self-employed artist in 1991, working with horses and giving riding lessons to supplement her income.

“It was a hard graft but she was doing something which she loved doing and this partly compensated for the low pay she was still receiving,” he said.

“The Norfolk Show art show was one of her most successful venues.

“She had the honour of having one of her paintings on the cover of the catalogue for 2001 and she continued to enter work up until her death in May 2007.

“Since then, I have set up a website in her memory and some of her work can be viewed at www.sarahpyefinch.

co.uk - and I am raising money for Lifeblood by selling off limited edition prints of her work.

“So far I have raised over £200 since the web site was launched in March 2008.”

Earlier this month, Mr Culyer attended a Parliamentary reception at the House of Commons to coincide with national thrombosis week, where his fundraising initiative won recognition from the charity's medical director, Dr Beverley Hunt.

“I felt duty bound to attend, as Sarah had died from thrombosis in that very week of last year,” he explained.

The exhibition will be held at 6.30pm on Saturday, June 14, at the headquarters of equine charity World Horse Welfare (formerly ILPH) at Hall Farm, Snetterton. And two original paintings will be auctioned on the night.

“Sarah had been a member of the ILPH and it is fitting, I feel, to have the event at a venue involving horses which were so much part of her life,” added Mr Culyer.

Tickets priced £5, including refreshments, are available from Mr Culyer on 01379 870254, or email andyculyer@btinternet.com

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