THE villages of Newbiggin-on-Lune and Ravenstonedale will come together on Easter Monday for a remembrance service in honour of prominent local artist Tom Oldham.

A respected figure in the area and beyond, he lived in Newbiggin for many years and was well known not only for his skills with the paintbrush but also as the village postman and through community activities and church events.

Mr Oldham trained at Leicester College of Art in the early 1950s and initially worked in the printing industry.

He moved to the Kirkby Stephen area with his wife Wendy in 1974, finding work at the town’s Pendragon Gallery.

The couple moved to Yew House in Newbiggin the following year and Mr Oldham’s new job as postman suited his artistic ambitions, the early morning start leaving time later in the day to produce wonderful sketchbook drawings, many of which he developed into oil and watercolour paintings, often of Cumbrian landscape but also of people and still life subjects.

After his wife died in 1989, he had the responsibility of bringing up their son Jamie, who fondly described him as a loving father.

Mr Oldham had a long friendship with David William Morris and Caroline A. Metcalfe-Gibson of The Scar Gallery in Ravenstonedale and they had joint painting expeditions to Spain, along with Jamie, who also became a talented artist.

“He was a complete craftsman, his drawings beautifully sure and his eye for colour and tone marvellous,” said Mr Morris. “He was an artist friend who taught me a lot.”

Mr Oldham was a member of Kendal Art Society and The Lake Artists, and his paintings were much sought after at their Grasmere summer exhibitions.

Failing health led to a move to his son’s current home in Peasedown St. John near Bath two years ago, and he passed away in January while visiting friends in Peterborough.

All are welcome at his remembrance service which will be held at 11am on Easter Monday at St.Oswald’s Church, Ravenstonedale, followed by refreshments at the Public Hall in Newbiggin.