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Artist's exhibition near Maidstone to help fund Parkinson's disease research

Thursday 21st February 2019

AN ARTIST, diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, is showcasing her talent by putting on an exhibition in Allington.

Shelagh Oates (67,) of Foxden Drive in Downswood, is hosting an art display to raise money for Parkinson’s disease research.

Mrs Oates said: “I just want people to realise it is not the end of the world, as long as you stay positive then you can get through anything.

“My husband and I live by the word overcome. I have been very lucky and want to help others, I have had a lot of support from my husband.”

Shelagh was diagnosed in December 2011, after finishing her last year teaching and retiring with her husband, Bill.

She was given the idea to host an art exhibition by a friend to raise money to go towards Parkinson’s research, and contacted Allington Library.

Her sister Annie Bailey (53,) said: “Once people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s, they think that’s it and just accept that’s what life is going to be like.

“Shelagh is mainly part of this organisation to help bring awareness towards the research into the disease, which helps reduce the symptoms and massively benefits people with Parkinson’s.

“I think what is special about Shelagh is obviously with Parkinson’s you shake and don’t really have that control, so for her to be able to sketch these detailed and intricate drawings is amazing.”

Shelagh’s work also attracted the attention of Maidstone Museum, who now prints her work onto merchandise as part of their marketing programme.

Sam Butler, Operations Manager at Maidstone Museum, said: “Two years ago I ran a competition for a new range here in the shop.

“It was judged by Graham Clarke and an internal panel, the image was to be done in black and white and represent what the artist thought represented Maidstone.

“Shelagh came a very close second so her drawing of the Archbishops Palace is on the T-Towel, a key ring and a mug. She is a very lovely lady.”

From March 1 to March 28, every Tuesday and Thursday, Shelagh will be putting on zentangle workshops between 3pm to 5pm and meet the artist sessions from 2:30pm to 5pm at Allington Library.

Zentangle is produced with an ink pen, sketching a series of abstract patterns all put together.

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