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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

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Artist sells paintings to help threatened Carlisle bipolar charity

An amateur artist is hoping to sell two of his watercolour paintings to boost funds of a Carlisle mental health charity so it can continue helping members.

Bipolar man Colin Hindle photo
Colin Hindle with wife Hazel

Funding for Carlisle Bipolar Self Help Group was cut after the national charity – Bipolar UK – faced financial difficulties and it looked like local sufferers would be unable to hire suitable venues to host their regular monthly meetings.

Colin Hindle, a 46-year-old from Penrith, decided to produce two paintings depicting the success of two gold medal winning British Paralypians during last year’s London Games and they are on show at his Pooley Bridge tea rooms.

He said: “They are realistic, but I am trying to capture the moment of success when these two guys were very inspirational.”

The paintings show 100m bladerunner Johnnie Peacock and wheelchair racer David Weir – who won four gold medals at last year’s games.

Colin said the two pictures had the collective title The Werewolf and the Peacock.

He said that he had decided to try to help the local bipolar group because his wife, who suffers from the condition, had found it very helpful in trying to overcome the illness.

Colin added: “The charity nationally has been in crisis and they’ve stopped funding for regional groups to pay for venues. My wife organises the meetings and invites speakers. People come from all over north Cumbria.

“My wife has bipolar, her treatment is ongoing, but she is through the worst of it. When she first came across the group she said it was the first time she felt normal.”

Hazel, 45, said she had to give up work as a foot health professional two years ago because of the condition, said that looking back she could see that she had suffered from bipolar for most of her adult life.

She added: “I was always impulsive – there were times when I look back and I did irrational things. I moved down to London overnight and moved into a hostel.”

Hazel said that she suffered from her first breakdown when she was 21-years-old and it affected everybody in different ways. She said: “My manias are very productive but my lows can be very destructive.”

However she said that, following her most recent episode, she had received a lot of support from different areas within the NHS. She added: “It’s been a really slow process of trying to accept the illness – it’s extremely hard work trying to keep it under control.”

Hazel said that support from other group members had also helped. She said: “I’ve only been in the group since September but I’ve had such a lot from the group. Sharing knowledge and experiences, learning from each other and about what works for other people.”

Hazel said that the news that they might lose the charity had hit the members hard. She added: “The self help groups are the heart and soul of the charity.”

For information contact carlisle@bipolarukgroups.org.uk or 0845 4349880.

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