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WWII Veteran Paints Famous Care Home Cat

WWII Veteran Bill Gladden, 98, from Suffolk, has been painting all his life and particularly loves painting dogs and horses to raise funds for the Taxi Charity.

On a recent trip to The Netherlands with the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, Bill heard about a very special cat who was enriching the lives of staff and residents at the Diagrama Foundation, Edensor Care Home in Clacton on Sea. Dave the cat had arrived at the home as a kitten in 2021 when the Care Home asked residents to share something they would like for a ‘Wish Tree’. Diane, one of the residents asked for ‘a cat to love and care for’ and a little tabby kitten, who they named Dave, arrived.

From the moment Dave came to the Care Home, he really caught everyone’s attention including the BBC who made a video of him which became one of their most watched videos of 2021. When Bill heard that the Care Home was preparing a 1st birthday party for Dave, he offered to paint a portrait of him.

WWII Veteran, Bill Gladden, said: “We were talking about Dave over dinner one evening and when I heard about what a difference he has made to the lives of the residents and the staff I asked if they might like a portrait of him. I am often asked to paint people’s pets and if they like what I have done all I ask is that they donate to the Taxi Charity.”

Lindsey Milliken, Deputy Manager, Edensor Care Centre, said: “We were over the moon when we received a phone call to say a WWII Veteran wanted to paint Dave’s portrait. We sent a photograph of Dave to Bill, and we were delighted when the gorgeous portrait arrived in time for Dave’s first birthday. Bill has been incredibly generous, and we cannot thank him enough. Many of our residents live with dementia or complex medical needs and Dave has made such a difference to life here. The residents and staff love Dave’s portrait which we will be framing and hanging in pride of place in our lounge.”

Bill will be travelling with the Taxi Charity to commemorate Dutch Liberation in The Netherlands in May, and D Day in Normandy in June and will no doubt be asked to paint more animals by those he travels with.