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Husband sells jigsaw puzzles of Wanstead to raise money for blood cancer charity after wife’s diagnosis

PUBLISHED: 14:50 09 October 2017

Neil Clayden has been making art and turning it into puzzles at home.
Neil Clayden with his wife Christina, at Wanstead Library,

Neil Clayden has been making art and turning it into puzzles at home. Neil Clayden with his wife Christina, at Wanstead Library,

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A retired Harrods salesman is fundraising for charity by selling jigsaws he made while spending time with his wife after her cancer diagnosis.

Neil Clayden has been making art and turning it into puzzles at home.
Neil Clayden with his wife Christina, at Wanstead Library, Neil Clayden has been making art and turning it into puzzles at home. Neil Clayden with his wife Christina, at Wanstead Library,

After his wife Christina, 57, was diagnosed with myeloma, a type of blood cancer, last year, Neil Clayden decided to quit his job to spend time caring for her.

During a period of recuperation, after undergoing several intensive treatments in hospital, Christina busied herself with knitting at the couple’s Wanstead home.

Neil, 56, “in need of a distraction” after a prolonged episode at Whipps Cross, found himself walking around Wanstead, taking photographs of significant buildings and places of interest.

Neil snapped the modernist inspired Tube station, Christ Church and the Grade I listed Saint Mary the Virgin, in Langley Drive, and the old drinking fountain.

Neil Clayden has been making art and turning it into puzzles at home. Neil Clayden has been making art and turning it into puzzles at home.

He then decided to paint the pictures.

Neil has degree in fine art and photography from the Bath Academy of Art in the late 70s, and has maintained his interest in these fields over the years.

The couple then decided to develop the paintings further.

“Our appreciation of jigsaws leds us to decide to turn the paintings into a puzzle,” Neil explained.

Neil Clayden has been making art and turning it into puzzles at home.
Neil Clayden with his jigsaw puzzl at Wanstead Library, Neil Clayden has been making art and turning it into puzzles at home. Neil Clayden with his jigsaw puzzl at Wanstead Library,

They approached a manufacturer and managed to produce high quality jigsaws.

The results speak for themselves – a brilliantly colourful array of quaint images that truly capture the spirit of Wanstead.

Neil’s dextrously painted creations are currently on display in Wanstead Library, Spratt Hall Road, until November 11.

The couple plan to donate all profits to Bloodwise – a charity that funds research into leukaemia, myeloma and other types of blood cancer.

Neil felt that “this was the most effective way for me to use my skills to raise money for the charity – I’m not built for running!”

Each year, 5,500 people are diagnosed with myeloma, the second most common form of blood cancer in the UK.

Too many abnormal plasma cells in the blood marrow result in symptoms ranging from bone pain, recurring infection, to kidney damage and fatigue.

It is still unknown what exactly causes myeloma.

Jigsaws are on sale for £18.50 and framed paintings for £55.

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