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Art exhibition is thank you for saving daughter's life

By Herald Express  |  Posted: December 13, 2012

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NEWTON ABBOT-based artist Sarah Bell (pictured) is showing her paintings over the Christmas period at the Gallery at Torbay Hospital, Torquay, where intensive care staff saved her daughter's life in the early hours of Christmas Day just two years ago.

"I'm so happy to be able to give something back to the hospital," says Sarah.

"My daughter Eliza, then 12, caught pneumonia and suffered respiratory arrest. ICU worked a miracle on her, before sending her on to Bristol Children's Hospital.

"Since then Eliza and I have spent many weeks on and off staying at the Louisa Cary children's ward at Torbay.

"The art exhibitions in the Gallery have always provided a welcome distraction for both of us."

Sarah is probably best known for her illustrations for the award winning Radio 4 Archers Cookbook, but life in Devon rather than Ambridge features heavily in her new watercolours in the Torbay exhibition.

Paintings on show include livestock at Devon County Show; beach huts at Teignmouth; and her own rare breed chickens, ducks and the Pygmy Goats, Basil and Rocket, living in the orchard at Sampsons Farm Hotel near Newton Abbot, where she lives.

"Eliza's health has really improved in the last six months, which is wonderful, and I've had more time, too, to get back to my painting again," said Sarah. "We owe a great debt to the staff at Torbay. They're just amazing. I just wonder how the intensive care staff manage to keep their angel's wings under cover when they are working."

The exhibition runs until January 4.

Sarah will be teaching a series of art classes in the Bayview Restaurant at the hospital in January for staff and patients to raise funds of ICU and the children's ward and is donating a painting as a raffle prize.

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