Age is just a number

Jackie Flaherty is known to many people as the founder of Godstone Farm, but she is also a keen artist. Despite not enjoying the lesson at school, she began attending art classes again in her early sixties and discovered she had a talent worth pursuing.

Jackie aims to complete at least an hour of art a day in her studio at her Woldingham home, using oils, chalk and pencils. She works from photographs, with animals and children being her favourite subjects.

She is a regular member of both the Caterham Art Group and the Tandridge Art Group, and often exhibits her paintings locally. Profits from any sales go to her charity, Grow Old Disgracefully, which was inspired by a visit to a care home, where residents had just been placed in front of a television, instead of being stimulated by activities.

Use it or lose it

Jackie says:

“I thought, how boring for them. I remember my mother telling me about how she once met an extremely bright woman in her nineties who, when asked what her secret was, replied ‘My dear, you either use it or lose it!’ and so I wanted to ensure older people got the chance to do more exciting activities.”

Grow Old Disgracefully has organised art and writing competitions for the over-90s, and, in conjunction with the National Activity Providers Association, has provided a range of experiences for elderly participants, including skydiving, speeding along a zip wire, swimming in the sea and more. They have also provided care homes with Wii consoles.

The benefits of exhibiting

Jackie enjoys learning new ways to improve her own painting:

“I began entering exhibitions when I took up painting again, including one by the Society of Women Artists, at the Mall Galleries in London. Entering exhibitions is useful as it allows me to judge my own work alongside other people’s.”

Recently, Jackie submitted three of her paintings to the Croydon Art Society Summer Exhibition, which was held at Bourne Hall, in Ewell.

See more of Jackie’s artwork on her website.

Jackie Flaherty with Beth and Neal

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