Celebrity deckchairs on tour

DOZENS of the country's leading actors, writers and artists have used their creative flair to support a Suffolk charity with an eye-catching touring exhibition.

DOZENS of the country's leading actors, writers and artists have used their creative flair to support a Suffolk charity with an eye-catching touring exhibition.

Lord of the Rings star Bernard Hill, who lives at Reydon, is one of 40 big names who designed and painted deckchairs to form the unusual and colourful collection.

The Suffolk Coastal Deckchairs exhibition will pass through towns in east Suffolk during the summer, showcasing designs by Suffolk-based authors Esther Freud and Anthony Horowitz, and Mr Benn creator Dave McKee.

The project is in aid of St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich, a charity which provides specialist services for people with terminal illnesses across east Suffolk.

The team behind the project includes Ann McBride, whose sister Sheila was cared for at home before dying of breast cancer aged 30.

She said: 'The inspiration for the project came from one of the fundraising team who was buying a deckchair and was struck by the beautiful designs. We got thinking, and wondered if we could incorporate them into a campaign.

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'Originally, we wanted the celebrities to sign the canvas, but then thought how much better it would be if they could actually design and paint one. We deliberately didn't give them any direction; just sent them a blank canvas and some paints.

'We have been absolutely astounded by the inventiveness and diversity of the designs ranging from thoughtful, to bright and bubbly.'

Anthony Horowitz, author of the best-selling Alex Rider novels, said: 'There are far too few hospices in East Anglia in general and this is a great way of raising awareness and money for a terrific cause.'

As well as boosting funds from sponsorship for the Ipswich hospice, which costs �5.9m a year to run, it is hoped thousands of pounds will be raised when the deckchairs are auctioned on October 1.

To sponsor one of the deckchairs visit wwwsuffolkcoastaldeckchairs.org.uk.

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