THE fundraising efforts of a courageous Witherslack man have been recognised by a special award from a national charity.

Bob Sutcliffe, 49, took up painting in his mid-thirties after suffering a series of serious health problems.

And not only did it play a big part in helping his recovery, but the sale of the paintings and cards he created has now raised more than £40,000 for a range of deserving causes including Epilepsy Action, Support Dogs for people with disabilities, mental health training for a community school in Africa, the British Heart Foundation, Children with Cancer and also a range of local charities.

Mr Sutcliffe, who formerly worked for the Lake District National Park Authority before retraining as a teacher, was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was 36.

He continued to lead a very active life but was dealt a further blow when he suffered a heart attack.

Mr Sutcliffe's brother bought him some watercolour paints to help his recovery, and though he had barely painted since leaving school, he took to the hobby with such enthusiasm, he was soon receiving commissions for his work, and that gave him the idea for fundraising.

His link up with Epilepsy Action to produce Christmas cards has already raised £4,500, and he is expected to raise thousands more with this year's card, which he amazingly painted when both of his wrists were broken following a violent seizure.

And Mr Sutcliffe's tireless efforts, which include many paintings featuring Lake District scenes, have now been recognised by the receipt of the charity's 'Fundraiser' award, which was presented to him at Sherwood Primary School in Preston.

"I’d like to thank everyone who supports me by both buying my cards and asking me to paint for them," said Mr Sutcliffe, who often sends a free painting to anyone who he finds out has been diagnosed with epilepsy.

"I’d also like to thank my school community for encouraging me and showing it’s possible to be successful in a challenging job with this condition. "It’s so important to show children that epilepsy is not scary or something that limits you.

"This award simply symbolises the power of the motto: ‘Never give up’.”

Thanking Mr Sutcliffe for his efforts, Epilepsy Action’s corporate and merchandise officer Harvinder Chaggar, who nominated him for the award, said: “Bob is highly dedicated, very easy-going and creative with his fundraising.

"He is always willing to help and do anything he can to raise funds and awareness for the charity.

"His commitment is on another level."

To find out more or to donate, visit, and to view Mr Sutcliffe's work, visit