Sandal Art Group

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LAUNCHED by Edwin Hirst and retired art teacher Bill Church, Sandal Art Group has gone from strength to strength and now boasts nearly 50 members who meet each week at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club.

The group was brought under the wing of the Community Association in January 2014. The aim is to give general support to the group and to explore joint events. 

Edwin, who with his wife Kathleen is well known for his books of paintings of local historic buildings, said: “The group has become a real haven for people who enjoy art.”

He has now been succeeded as chairman by Roger Brown (left). Members get together at the club every Thursday from 10am to noon for meetings. They not only paint, mostly in watercolours, they also enjoy social events and trips. For more information about the group, call Roger on 01924 257466.

Go to our Gallery section to learn more about Edwin's books and to explore a series of his paintings of buildings in the Sandal and Chevet area.

SAG members enjoyed a real cracker of a Christmas lunch!

THERE was a warm welcome for former SAG chairman Edwin Hirst and his wife, Kathleen, at the group's Christmas lunch at The Spring Community Cafe. Edwin, who has moved to Chester, brought with him the British Empire Medal he was awarded in 2018 for his services to the Wakefield community. He is pictured here saying a few words of thanks for all the support he has received. A slideshow of snaps taken at the lunch can be viewed on our Facebook page. (See link at the top of this page.)

Group's chairman earns place in top London aviation art show

OUR CHAIRMAN Roger Brown has earned the distinction of having one of his paintings selected for display at the Guild of Aviation Artists annual exhibition. His watercolour pays homage to the RAF’s Cold War jet fighter, the English Electric Lightning. “It was an awesome machine,” said Roger, “It was the last all-British fighter, a wonderful aeroplane that could go supersonic in a vertical climb. And it was our first Mach 2 [twice the speed of sound] fighter.”

Submission day for the exhibition was about six weeks ago and Roger also offered a wartime scene of a Lancaster bomber. “But they get lots of paintings of Lancs,” he explained.

Roger (pictured holding a print of his Lightning painting) is a Friend of the Guild and he will be working to progress to Associate. The standard is high and artists usually have to have had work accepted in three of the Guild's annual exhibitions over a six-year period. All 400 paintings in the 2017 exhibition can be viewed on the Guild's website, arranged alphabetically by artist. Roger’s picture can be seen at

Roger is an aviation buff but his artistic talent is not confined to aeroplanes. He has painted a variety of subjects including local views. His Sandal Skyscape still forms the cover for Sandal Community Association’s Facebook and Twitter pages and has now been reprinted as a greetings card for the second time.

Members' work goes on display at Theatre Royal exhibition


OUR summer exhibition, which is in the Theatre Royal’s coffee shop, runs until July 18. On the left SAG chairman Roger Brown is chatting to Sarah Finegold, the theatre’s artwork co-ordinator who organises a different exhibition of local art each month.

Death of art group founder Bill Church - a tribute

MEMBERS were saddened to learn of the death in March of retired art teacher Bill Church, who set up Sandal Art Group with Edwin Hirst, who has written this appreciation: "We were so sorry to hear of the death of Bill and our thoughts are with Margaret and her family. Bill and Margaret really have had a tough time during the past few years, and I know that there were many ups and downs during Bill’s life.

"Most of us in Sandal Art Group and so many other people are indebted to Bill for giving enjoyment and developing our interest in painting. Kathleen and I and many who knew Bill have gained so much pleasure through his kindness and teaching. Memories will come flooding back for some of us - the painting exercises which Bill produced for the classes at Manygates, the lovely days at Grantly Hall and Parcevall Hall, the art exhibitions (he arranged all the pictures having to have his stamp on the back), the happy visits to his Bell Lane studio at Ackworth, not to mention the wonderful meals Margaret created on those Saturday mornings. He was a talented artist and wonderful teacher. Also, we will all be grateful to Bill for setting up Manygates Art Club, and later helping me start this club which has become the Sandal Art Group

“'You want plenty of paint, mucky green' - many of us will always have a bit of Bill in our paintings. "We will miss him in so many ways." Bill, who lived at Ackworth, originally worked in the family firm of heating engineers but when this closed he turned to teaching art.

Roger's painting is no small beer!

ROGER BROWN, the group's chairman who has been a regular at the King's Arms at Heath for more than 40 years, has presented landlady Lorri Wood with his painting of the popular gas-lit pub. The picture has also been turned into both cards and fridge magnets which can be bought at the pub.

Lorri said:"Profits will be going to various charities and we've started off with Yorkshire Air Ambulance."

Christmas fuddle raises £88 for dementia Admiral Nurses

EVERYONE had a great time at our 2017 Christmas fuddle at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club today with verse and entertainment provided by members. Some of those who enjoyed the buffet lunch are pictured here - with chairman Roger Brown giving his impression of a Rebel Yell in the background. A raffle raised £88 which will go to Admiral Nurses for the help they give dementia sufferers and their families in Wakefield.

Sports club provides space for permanent art group display


The Art Group, which meets each Thursday at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club, now has exhibition space on the wall of the club bar. The group's chairman, Roger Brown, is pictured (on the right) with some of the members whose work is on display.


Artistic fun at the Scarecrow Festival

THE group played a full part in September's Scarecrow Festival, which was a fantastic community event. We ran a scarecrow painting competition in St Helen's church rooms on the Saturday and members were involved in the scarecrow arts and crafts at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club on the Sunday. Roger Brown, our chairman, was a judge on one of the two scarecrow trails at this event which was organised for the second year by Sandal Community Association.

The fun from the event continued when Roger presented .Muriel Gisby (right) with her trophy for the best member's entry in the festival's scarecrow painting competition. The trophy will be awarded on a similar basis at each future scarecrow festival. Our picture on the left shows Carly receiving the scarecrow painting prize for her age group from SCA chairman Les Goddard.

Exhibition at Sandal Library

MEMBERS' ran exhibition at Sandal Library in July. Entry was free and refreshments were available.Some of the group's members are pictured here with library assistant Dawn Elson (extreme right).

A big 'thank you' from city's first dementia nurse

MATTHEW BURNS, Wakefield's first Admiral Nurse, called in on Sandal Art Group in April to say a big thank-you to members for their fundraising for Dementia UK who run the Admiral Nurse programme.

These specially-trained nurses help dementia sufferers and their families. Matthew was supported today by Sheila Wainwright whose determination and fundraising led to the city getting its first Admiral Nurse. Now she is keeping up the pressure with the aim of getting Wakefield a second dementia nurse.

To this end she has been supported by Sandal Art Group, a number of whose members' paintings have been turned into greeting cards. Sales of these have so far raised nearly £700 for the Admiral Nurse cause, said SAG member Canon Roger Cressey, who organised the group's fundraising project.

Spring show gets off to a great start


THE GROUP'S exhibition at the Waterton Discovery Centre at Anglers' Country Park was launched in fine style on Friday, April 15, with a swift first sale of one of its members' paintings. We also very quickly had the first participant in our children's painting competition - three-year-old Beth Telford, from Sandal, who was there with mum Christine (pictured). The exhibition will run until Sunday, April 24. There are painting sessions for children whose pictures will be entered into a prize competition. This will be split into three age groups from toddlers to teenagers whose efforts will be judged at 3pm on the final Sunday. The centre is open 11am to 4pm, Tuesday-Sunday each week.

Members' cards raise cash for Wakefield dementia Admiral Nurse project

ART GROUP member Canon Roger Cressey (on the right of our photo), watched by group chairman Roger Brown, handed a cheque for £400 to Sheila Wainwright, organiser of the fundraising campaign to get Wakefield its first dementia specialist Admiral Nurse, who took up his appointment last year.

The nurses, who are organised by the Dementia UK charity, work in a similar way to Macmillan nurses, but help victims of dementia and their families .

Artwork by group members has been published in the form of cards which are available for £1 each, a venture organised Canon Cressey. A selection of these cards was on sale at the February 25 meeting of Wakefield Rotary Club at the New Brookhouse Club, where the picture on the left was taken. All three in the photo are members of the Rotary club which has supported Sheila's campaign. She now aims to fundraise to get the city its second Admiral Nurse.

Art Group member Diane Bates's cards can be bought at Sandal Library where Diane worked for many years before retiring and becoming a volunteer. She is pictured at the library; one of her cards is also reproduced here.

Honorary membership for Edwin and Kathleen

Edwin Hirst stepped down as chairman in December 2015, handing over the reins to Roger Brown. At the group's Christmas lunch at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club, Roger presented 87-year-old Edwin and his wife Kathleen with a certificate proclaiming that the two of them had been made honorary members in recognition of all their work for the group.

Group celebrates nonagenarian members' birthdays

MILESTONE birthdays of two Sandal Art Group members were celebrated in style with a special lunch following the weekly meeting at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club on October 22.

Derick Shaw was marking his 90th birthday while Frank Taylor, now 91, missed out last year because he was unwell. The group amply made up for it this year. Derick, a retired pharmacist, was accompanied by his wife Sheila, while Frank, a former bakery manager, was with his wife Evelyn.

Group member Muriel Gisby made cakes, each superbly decorated with artists' items in icing. Group chairman Edwin Hirst presented bottles of wine to Frank and Derick. In brief responses both said how much they valued the friendship of members of the group. The lunch was prepared by a committee of lady members - Jane Driver, Eve Boyd, Liz Hampton and Margery Brown.

Exhibition at Wakefield Cathedral is terminated

DUE TO unforeseen circumstances relating to conditions imposed by Wakefield Cathedral authorities, the Art Group's exhibition, which opened at the cathedral on Saturday, October 17, was terminated. It had been due to run until October 29.

Some of the group's members are shown here setting up their pictures for the display.

For other photos go to the Art Group's Facebook page

Members tour Wentworth Woodhouse

A PARTY of art group members visited Wentworth Woodhouse, near Rotherham, in April for a tour of both house and gardens, an experience thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who took part. Congratulations to member Liz Hampton (on the right of the group) for making such an excellent job of organising the outing. Member Wendy Ward (right) was also busy with her camera.

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Roger's Sandal Skyscape limited edition prints go on sale

ROGER BROWN (pictured), the Sandal Art Group and SCA member who painted the Sandal Skyscape which forms the cover image on the SCA's Facebook and Twitter pages, has produced a limited edition print of the artwork for sale.

The artwork has also been used for an SCA greetings card but this latest venture is Roger's own. Prints can be bought for £12.95 each, or £10 each for ten, by calling him on 01924 257466. They are designed to fit a standard frame.The cards proved so popular we have had to get them reprinted and they are again available at £1 each or £4 for five. Call Richard Taylor on 01924 256644.




Roger has drawn a city skyline in similar style (left) and prints of this are also available. This artwork has been used to develop a corporate image for the Rotary Club of Wakefield, of which he is a member.


The work produced by the group's  members is varied and often of a very high standard


LEFT: Wendy Ward depicts the Sparrowhawk's keen gaze

RIGHT: Roger Cressey's kingfisher was turned into a popular card

BELOW: Carole Smith paints an affectionate image of mother elephant and youngster












LEFT: This watercolour by Margery Brown, entitled 'Three Friends in  a Poppy Field', has been used for a greetings card, from which this scan was taken.







RIGHT: Brenda Field's depiction of the old long-gone Walnut Tree pub at Sandal.

BELOW LEFT: Joyce Stock elected to paint a simple but effective country scene

BELOW RIGHT: Joan Kelly chose to depict a leopard, a task which she says she found very relaxing











BELOW LEFT: So let's be different! Jean Smith certainly had everything buttoned up for this image...

RIGHT: Kathleen Hirst's view of Iona Abbey



LEFT: Frank Taylor captures the fly-away look of a freshly brushed Afghan hound


RIGHT: The scent of Jane Driver's spring bouquet


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