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Sandra Chapman Centre benefits from sale of artworks

17 February 2022

An exterior photograph of the entrance to our Sandra Chapman Centre. A blue and white NHS sign is positioned to one side of the open double doors. 

The James Paget’s Sandra Chapman Centre is one of two local organisations to have benefitted from the sale of decades of work by local artists that went under the auctioneer’s hammer recently.

Scores of paintings that made up the permanent collection of the Great Yarmouth and District Society of Artists were sold as there was nowhere to provide them with a secure home. The money raised from the sale - £10,400 - has been shared equally between Centre 81 and the Sandra Chapman Centre, and our share of the funds will be used to buy two chemotherapy treatment chairs.

“This is a very happy ending for the collection,” said the society’s chair Margaret Carver. “These are two very good local causes and we are absolutely delighted to be able to support them in this way.

“Huge thanks go to the auctioneers, Keys, who generously waived their commission so every penny raised could be donated, and to Mike Hicks, of Stalham Antiques, who liaised with them on our behalf.”

Part of the collection was on display in Gorleston library for 15 years but was removed when the library was refurbished. Since then, all the pictures – including works by noted artists Campbell Melon, Rowland Fisher and Geoffrey Chatten – have been out on loan or in storage.

“It’s disappointing that there wasn’t somewhere to have the collection on permanent display, and that all that talent was hidden away in a store,” said Mrs Carver. “We took the difficult decision to sell the paintings so that they could be enjoyed by new owners. 

“Since its formation in 1927, the society has been entirely self-funded and hasn’t received a penny in grants. We are very proud of this.” The 90-year history of the society is celebrated in a book produced by society member and graphic designer Nick Marshall. 

The permanent collection was started 40 years ago by Julian Macey to showcase the work of talented local artists, and most of the 80 or so works were bought from the artists by the society. Mr Macey died in 2019 at the age of 99. 

Mrs Carver said: “I joined the society then and I got caught up in a tidal wave of activity, including sending pictures out on loan and organising two exhibitions a year to raise funds to add to the collection. Julian was a pioneer who championed local artists.”

Maxine Taylor, charity co-ordinator at the James Paget University Hospital, said; “We are enormously grateful for this fantastic donation from the society which will be used to buy two chemotherapy treatment chairs for the Sandra Chapman Centre.

“These are specially designed for people undergoing sometimes lengthy treatment and have controls for leg elevation and back recline so that patients can be as comfortable and relaxed as possible. A great many people will experience the benefit of this money.”