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The Power of Paint and Friendship 

December 9, 2019 December 2019 No Comments

When I first met John Lace he was selling poppies outside Kitcheners Dairy. The Martinborough Friday walkers had just finished coffee there and as a bright, chatty, happy group we suggested he join us the next week.

John did but could only walk 100 metres as he was soon out of breath, the result of smoking for 60 years, even though he gave up ten years ago.
 Each week saw John walk a bit further before he had to stop, but enjoying our company he always joined us for coffee when we finished our hour walking about town. Sadly, he was a very unhappy, lonely, depressed man since his wife, Joyce, died five years ago.

John began to talk during the coffee stops and told us of his very interesting life starting in Manchester, where he was born in 1935, which makes 84 years old. He went to sea with the Merchant Navy at 16 years old and travelled the world for two years before becoming a staff car driver for Generals and other senior officers in the Army. He has many funny stories from those years.
In 1966 he and Joyce came to New Zealand and he has been in the same house in Martinborough for the last 45 years!

During one of our chats, I found that John used to paint landscapes but, along with everything else, he had lost interest and given up since his wife passed away.
With some encouragement and quite a bit of bullying, John started to paint his beautiful pictures once again.

He is a new man! With a host of new friends, walking most days of the week and getting lost in the joy of putting paint on canvas, he is once more a happy man.

John has recently produced a brilliant series of New Zealand landscapes, which will be on show in the Martinborough library In early December. We are very impressed by how helpful Mr. Bryce Neems, the amenities manager for the Martinborough council, has been in supporting and encouraging this very talented gentleman.

The launch of his exhibition will be at 1pm on Sunday 8th. December. Everyone is welcome to come and meet John and admire his work. Knucklebone Cafe will be open for refreshments.

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