Decking out to raise money for St Elizabeth Hospice

An unusual and exciting fundraising project involving celebrities and artists is set to raise money for St Elizabeth Hospice.

More than 40 deckchairs designed and painted by some of the Suffolk’s – and country’s – leading names such as Esther Freud, Anthony Horowitz and actors Sean Bean and Bernard Hill has just been unveiled.

The deckchairs will spend a summer touring East Suffolk before going under the hammer for St Elizabeth Hospice on October 1.

Anthony Horowitz, the author of the best-selling Alex Rider novels, said: “There are far too few hospices in East Anglia in general and this is a great way of raising awareness and money for a terrific cause.” Anthony, whose bright design is titled ‘Spotted Deck’, said: “I was amazed, and rather embarrassed, when I saw the quality of the designs everyone else had come up with. I’m afraid mine is based on a rather bad pun.”

Mr Benn creator Dave McKee, whose deckchair shows the children’s cartoon character lounging on a patchwork design, is one of dozens of artists helping to raise money for the hospice, which costs £5.9 million – or £11 a minute – a year to run.

Suffolk Costal Deckchairs is the creation of a 14-strong team, including Ann McBride, whose sister Sheila died of breast cancer aged 30. She said: “The inspiration for the project came from one of the fundraising team who was buying a deck chair and was struck by the beautiful designs. We got thinking, and wondered if we could incorporate them into a campaign. “Originally we wanted the celebrities to sign the canvas but then thought how much better it would be if they could actually design and paint one. We deliberately didn’t give them any direction; just sent them a blank canvas and some paints. We have been absolutely astounded by the inventiveness and diversity of the designs ranging from thoughtful to bright and bubbly.”

Pupils across Suffolk have been getting behind the project by designing their own deckchair canvases. The winners have had their art work displayed on the deckchairs and they will form part of the touring exhibition. Some of the pupils visited St Elizabeth Hospice to see their deckchairs unveiled alongside those created by celebrities and well known artists. Hospice chief executive Jane Loughlin presented them with certificates. The winners were: Megan Rushbrook, Sam Eustace and Charmaine Crossman, of Leiston High School and Kane Bloss of Hartismere High School in Eye.

The deckchairs will be on display throughout Suffolk until the end of September at locations including the concert hall gallery at Snape Maltings, the Cut in Halesworth and at Christchurch Mansion as part of Ip-Art. As well as raising money from sponsorship, it’s hoped thousands will be raised when they are auctioned on October 1 at Glemham Hall. Others taking part in the project include the painters Susan Gunn, winner of the Sovereign European Painting Prize 2006, and Jeremy Deller, winner of the Turner Prize in 2004, as well as author/ illustrators John Burningham (Borka, Hushabye, It’s a secret!) and Helen Oxenbury (We’re Going on A Bear Hunt).

For more information about Suffolk Coastal Deckchairs, visit To sponsor one of the deckchairs contact Ann on 01728 685678 or 07823 333 883.

View more photos of the deckchairs on our Facebook page.

Deckchairs on tour

April 17 – 27, Wingfield Barns, Fressingfield
April 30 – May 3, Town Hall, Felixstowe
May 6 – June 5, The Cut, Halesworth
June 21 – July 11, Ip-art Festival, Ipswich
July 12 – 25, Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich
July 28 – August 8, Concert Hall Gallery, Aldeburgh Music
August 9 – September 17, Buckenham Gallery, Southwold
September 23 – 26, Aldeburgh Gallery, Aldeburgh
1 October 2010Auction at Glemham Hall, near Farnham.

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