Tom Rooney, a 93-year-old retired Grenadier Guardsman who lives at a dementia care home in Bridgwater, has produced artwork which so astonished his carers that they have been inspired to organised an exhibition of his work.
A landscape of butterflies painted by Tom was the work which prompted art therapist Ewa Kuwalek, a member of the activities team at Avalon Nursing Home, to suggest the idea of an exhibition.
The activities team at Avalon has been supporting their artistic resident to indulge his passion both with individual and group activities, as well as encouraging him to contribute ideas for future sessions and welcoming his help with seasonal displays and projects around the home.
Ewa Kuwalek said: “Tom feels most at ease and happy when he has a paint brush in his hand, and some music on to help him create his masterpiece.
“He has been living at Avalon for a year now, and has a wonderful life history, including serving our Queen in the armed forces, and personally giving her tea.
“We see it as an important part of our jobs to inform ourselves about our residents’ backgrounds and interests because it gives us such a natural way to encourage and maintain their engagement in the world around them, despite the challenges posed by dementia.
“Tom, for example, continues to show a great interest in travel and culture and he loves animals and music, especially choir and country music.
“And, of course, he is also an incredible artist who loves painting nature and people, and when he produced this beautiful landscape of butterflies recently we just knew we had to organise an exhibition to showcase his work.
“Tom is very happy with the idea of auctioning his works and we’re planning to plough the proceeds back into our activities fund which will then benefit everyone who lives at Avalon.”
The auction will take place in April, exact date still to be announced.