I arrived at the Mary Rose Museum with my painting and was taken into the Board room. The painting was unwrapped and handed to Charlie the Blind Volunteer. At that stage no-one else could see the picture. He felt his way around the painting and then told all the sighted people in the room everything that he could feel. I knew what to expect, they didn’t and the look of surprise on some of their faces was priceless A perfect ending to a wonderful association Charlie and the Mary Rose team.
John Lippiett wrote to me to congratulate me on my wonderful picture of the Mary Rose and said ” To be honest, it is very much more impressive than I ever thought it could be! It is a joy to behold for someone blessed with good eyesight, but to see the absolute pleasure it brought to Charlie as he felt his way across it was wonderful”. I treasure that letter.
I was contacted a short while later to say there was to be an official opening. The Museum had a good association with Portsmouth football Club, the owner Sasha Gydermack. The Manager Harry Redknapp and some of the footballers and they were all going to be there.
All my family were going to attend and my grandchildren were especially excited because they had proudly painted the red crosses on three of the flags.
The Friday before the Monday Opening I received a phone call to say that the event had to be cancelled because The Manager Harry Redknapp had suddenly resigned from Portsmouth Football club. No Harry Redknapp, no official opening. He would have no idea that the decision he had made about his own future had a ripple affect on our family, on what was to be a very proud day.
I was so disappointed because I wanted my family being part of the official opening and to meet with Charlie, who they had heard so much about. A number of them are keen Pompey supporters so there was the added excitement of them meeting Harry Redknapp and the team.
Finally, it was desperately sad for the Mary Rose team who work tirelessly in their endeavour to raise the profile of the ship and the Museum and would have benefited hugely from the publicity, especially as there was going to be television coverage.
It was not meant to be.
Next blog covers a surprise commission that came as a result of the painting.