THE plight of a West Cork woman paralysed by a stroke so moved a London-based Irish artist that he has painted a picture specially for her to have auctioned as a fundraiser.
Bernard Canavan was in Bandon over the new year when his father-in-law told him about Deirdre O’Reilly, the popular journalist who suffered a major stroke over a year ago.
Paralysed on one side, she has suffered memory loss, but is making progress.
Now the Deirdre O’Reilly Trust Fund aims to raise €200,000 that will be spent on intensive rehabilitation for the mother of two as well as adaptation of her home just outside Bandon.
‘When Ted Lucitt told me of the local community effort, I felt that I could offer a painting for auction as part of the fundraising,’ said Bernard who spent the festive season with his wife, Janet Lucitt, in her hometown of Bandon.
‘I was impressed to hear that, during her career, Deirdre had helped raise over one million euro for deserving causes,’ he added. ‘So this is just a small gesture of appreciation’.
It is planned that the painting will be auctioned in the near future as part of a fundraising evening.
Bernard Canavan emigrated to England in 1959 and settled in London as a freelance illustrator for most of the 1960s’ working with underground press, Oz, International Times, Cyclops, Black Dwarf, and magazines, such as New Society, Peace News and Tribune.
He won the Lowes-Dickinson medal and scholarship to Europe followed by a State Mature Scholarship to Ruskin College Oxford 1971-3, where he read for a Diploma in Social Studies, and after that a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Worcester College, Oxford.
His latest Irish exhibition was in the Kenny Gallery in Galway before Christmas. Galway poet Kevin Higgins said that the work of Bernard Canavan gives expression to the experience of a lost generation of Irish people.