Art Fair Archives - East Cheshire Hospice

The countdown is under way to Art Fair Cheshir

The countdown is under way to Art Fair Cheshire which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

The biennial event in aid of East Cheshire Hospice runs from Thursday Sept 26 until Thursday Oct 3 at Macclesfield Town Hall.

The exhibition, sponsored by AstraZeneca, will showcase work from more than 50 artists who donate a percentage of sales to the Hospice.

Art Fair Cheshire is looking for volunteers to help run the exhibition which has raised around £450,000 for the Hospice.

They will continue the good work started by grandmother Anna Rains who had the idea for an art exhibition.

Volunteer Anna Rains who helped inspire Art Fair Cheshire.

Back in 1998, she chaired a fundraising appeal to mark the Hospice’s 10th anniversary.

The dedication of Anna and her fellow pioneers provided the financial help to build the Sunflower Centre which remains an important hub for patient care.

Indeed, it was fitting that Anna and her original fundraisers attended the reopening of the refurbished centre a few weeks ago.

Their vision and drive provided the inspiration for the initial project with the art exhibition a key fundraiser.

This year’s displays will be organised in-house by the Hospice after previous co-chairs Georgie Johnson and Steven Dalton stepped aside after running the last two exhibitions on a voluntary basis.

Hospice Community and Events Fundraiser Claire Gorton said: “Georgie and Steven did a wonderful job with the support of volunteers and we’re so grateful to them all.

Macclesfield artist Francesca de Campora with her work at Art Fair Cheshire.

“Art Fair Cheshire has established a superb reputation and our aim is to build on that success. We want to organise a unique event which showcases art and celebrates community and giving.

“We want to further strengthen its links to the Hospice and what is happening here, including involving our Memory Tree unveiled last year.

“In addition to a fantastic exhibition, we’ll have a pop up café, artist tours and talks. Artists of all ages will hopefully take part, including school and college students.

Visitors enjoy works of art at the last exhibition in 2022.

”The Assembly Gallery will feature original art and sculptures, while the Capesthorne Gallery will exhibit jewellery, photography, glassware, ceramics, millinery, willow weaving as well as paintings and prints.

“We want it to be accessible and will need plenty of volunteers to get involved with the many different aspects of such a large project.”

The event is open from 10.30 am until 4 pm each day. For more details and to find out how to exhibit or volunteer visit

Art Fair Cheshire Success

Art Fair Cheshire returned in style with art lovers hailing its success.

The prestigious exhibition, run by volunteers and in aid of East Cheshire Hospice, ended on Sunday (June 5).

Visitors admired over 1,000 pieces of artwork, including a display by Bollington artist Sue Asbury whose exhibit won a Cheshire Life award.

Artist Jennie Gaywood with her work on display at Art Fair Cheshire 2022

Judges included Hannah Williamson, from Macclesfield, curator at Manchester Art Gallery for 11 years.

Hannah said: “The standard of exhibits at this year’s fair was once again of the highest quality showing the immense artistic talent out there.”

Artists donated at least 40 per cent of sales to the Hospice which will help support its art therapy unit, run by Fay Mitchell, who was also a judge.

Art Fair Cheshire, with AstraZeneca and Little Greene as headline sponsors, was last held in 2019.

From left, judge Hannah Williamson; Art Fair co-chair Georgie Johnson; Cheshire Life editor Joanne Goodwin;  Art Fair co-chair Steven Dalton and East Cheshire Hospice Chief Executive Karyn Johnston.

Co-chair Georgie Johnson said: “We’re very lucky to work with some fantastically creative and talented people. We’d like to thank our sponsors, volunteers, artists and curators for supporting the Hospice.”

Hospice Chief Executive Karyn Johnston said: “The galleries are amazing. An unbelievable amount of voluntary work has gone into staging the event and I’d like to thank all those involved.

“The Hospice only receives 12 per cent of its income from the NHS and needs to raise the rest, so this is one of the major events in our fundraising calendar.”

Exhibitors included Celia Davies, from Whalley, Lancashire, who runs art classes on cruise ships. She said: “This is my first visit here and having exhibits helps raise the profile of my work.”

An oil painting called ‘A Dream in Motion’ by Lara Balcerzak, from Manchester, featured in an emerging artists gallery. Lara said: “I’ve always wanted to be an artist and got my art degree in 2019.  It’s nice to have my work displayed at such a prestigious art fair.”

Winners of the Cheshire Life gallery awards, presented by editor Joanne Goodwin, were:

Assembly Gallery: Ghislaine Howard, Olga Geoghegan, Sue Asbury. Capesthorne Gallery: Francesca de Campora, Rachel Cooke. Emerging Artists: Sarah-Joy Ford.

Artwork on display in Macclesfield Town Hall

Artist Karin Sheldon shares her art story

Grandmother Karin Sheldon enjoys making things – whether it is delicate jewellery, or restoring her stone cottage.

Karin Sheldon who is exhibiting at Art Fair Cheshire.

Her hand-crafted jewellery and silversmithing will be proudly on display at Art Fair Cheshire.

Her days are taken up either creating art work, or renovating her Bollington home once owned by her mum Helen Daniell.

Home and jewellery maker Karin Sheldon with tools at the ready.   

Karin said: “I’ve been a maker all my life and if you want it, make it. My parents were makers as well. I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I left school but heard about art school where you could make stuff so took a degree in jewellery and silversmithing.

“I’m a DIY person and doing a lot of the work on my cottage which is nearly complete. I only get the experts in when I need to.

“If you’ve grown up using materials you have an innate understanding of them and mine stretches to precious metals as well. ”

In addition, Karin has donated a necklace to help further boost Art Fair profits  and she has a soft spot for the Hospice which cared for her late mum who died in 2008, aged 81.

She said: “They looked after my mum and looked after me as well which is the wonderful thing about hospices. It is a marvellous place and I’ve also had friends cared for there. ”

The Sheldon name is synonymous with design. Karin’s family once owned Paradise Mill at the Silk Museum.

Art Fair Delayed

The organisers of Art Fair Cheshire have reluctantly taken the decision to postpone the event until May 2022. The biennial art fair takes place at Macclesfield Town Hall in support of East Cheshire Hospice. The decision has been taken because of the on-going uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic. The popular event had been scheduled to start at the end of September.

Co-chair Georgie Johnson said: “We’re disappointed to have to postpone the event but strict limits on numbers allowed in the Town Hall, along with rising Covid cases, means that we felt we had no choice. “We’ve had such generous support from sponsors this year and rather than risk that funding if the event were cancelled at the last minute, we’ve decided to re-book the event for May 26 until June 5 next year. “All of our participating artists are on board to take part again and we look forward to seeing everyone then.”

Visitors at the last Art Fair in 2019.

Art Fair Cheshire involves more than 80 artists, each of whom donates 40 per cent of the sales of their work to the Hospice. The event has been running for 22 years and is proud to support artists from all over the north west. The next event will feature a new gallery of emerging and recently-graduated artists as well as many artists from across the region and beyond. Local primary schools are also involved and have been busy designing sunflowers, which feature on the Hospice logo. These will be displayed as a huge wall of celebratory flowers when the event opens next year.

Sunflowers drawn by pupils at Alderley Edge School for Girls as part of a project to involve schools in the next Art Fair in May 2022

Two years ago the event raised £45,000 to provide funds for the Hospice’s art therapy unit. It has donated around £300,000 to the Hospice since 1999. To sign up to the Art Fair Cheshire newsletter, or for more information about events, talks and artists, visit It is the latest fundraising event in aid of the Hospice to be delayed by the Covid crisis. The Hospice has already put back its Memory Miles walk at Adlington Hall from late August until Friday, March 25.

Art Fair Cheshire Returns this Autumn

Art Fair Cheshire returns this autumn featuring works by established and emerging artists.

The biennial event will take place at Macclesfield Town Hall from Thursday, September 23, until Sunday, October 3.

Organisers are dedicating specific gallery space to artists who may have recently graduated from creative degrees.

The move is an opportunity for the next generation of artists to exhibit work, reach a wide audience, make sales and gain recognition.

Each exhibiting artist donates a percentage from the sale of their work to East Cheshire Hospice.

Two years ago the event raised £45,000 to provide funds for the Hospice’s art therapy unit. It also attracted record sponsorship with organisers now aiming to build on that success.

Art Fair Cheshire – showcasing work by more than 80 local and regional artists – has donated around £300,000 to the Hospice since 1999.

Co-chair Georgie Johnson said:  “In addition to our fantastic exhibition, we’ll have a pop-up cafe, artist talks as well as lively debates with experienced gallery guides.

“For the first time, we’ll be hosting a gallery of newly-graduated and emerging artists. We’re keen to support artists who might not have exhibited before and look forward to showcasing their work.

“We love working with artists, makers and creators to develop a truly unique event which not only showcases art, but celebrates community and giving.  We invite people to join us and support East Cheshire Hospice and discover some wonderful art while they do so.”

* For more information visit


Visitors enjoying Art Fair Cheshire in 2019.

Anna Rains

Grandmother Anna Rains has moved home an incredible 46 times, living on boats, a converted bus, in a caravan and a haunted Cheshire farmhouse.

Her nomadic lifestyle is long gone and she is a permanent fixture at Art Fair Cheshire which she set up in 1998.

Anna was chair of the Hospice 10th Anniversary Fundraising Appeal to build the Sunflower Centre. Her team raised £300,000 and one of her ideas was to hold an Art Exhibition.

Friend Liz Taylor-Webb, mentored by L.S. Lowry, was the first artist Anna asked to exhibit.

A signed print of a painting by HRH Prince Charles fetched £3,000 at auction at that first Fair. Overall, nearly £400,000 has been donated to the Hospice.

Anna said: “I’ve moved into the background now and love talking to the artists.  A new generation have taken over successfully and I’ve spent a lot of money over the years on artwork.

“With dedicated helpers, I’ve made thousands of canapes since the first exhibition.  We handed out about 1,500, which flew off the plates, at the last Art Fair.”

Anna has lived locally since 1983 and still helps the biennial exhibitions.

She has seen tremendous changes and professional advancements.  “I’ve always enjoyed art, especially traditional work, but I’m a better writer than an artist.”

She wrote a book entitled Will You Take the Dogs or the Diamonds? chronicling her life and family history.  The title was inspired by a remark between her grandparents before a long train journey.

Anna Rains with the book about her life.

“The book is about my mad family.  My mother was pretty eccentric.  She sent me off with a one-way ticket to Hong Kong, waving goodbye and telling me to go and see the world.  I was 19 then.

“Born in London, we moved to Wales when I was three weeks old to escape the War and moved into a remote cottage without sanitation, running water or electricity.  Wishing to travel to Sussex, my parents bought a bus.  I was four and we were moved on by the police because we weren’t bona fide showmen.

“Joining a funfair and a circus sorted that and we put posters up at night on other people’s properties.”

In 1969, Anna moved to California at the height of hippies and flower power. “My life hasn’t always been easy – but it has been interesting,” said Anna, who was convinced she shared one of her homes with a ghost.

Anna Rains at last year’s Art Fair.

Gathering – The Perfect Valentines Gift

Forget a red rose for your loved one on Valentine’s Day. Instead, buy a red velvet decoration which will last forever.


East Cheshire Hospice is selling the final pieces of Gathering, a unique installation which was on display at Tatton Park last year.


Demand for the item has already been high with the striking designs adorning many homes and offices.


The hope is that with romance in the air on February 14 it will persuade more people to take up the offer and at the same time treasure memories.


The art work was created by international artist Susie MacMurray as part of Art Fair 2019. She said: “The rich red colour symbolises the body and its preciousness and the barbed wire isn’t about conflict but facing difficulty and struggle.


” The making of this work reflects the whole idea of the piece which is a gathering of people to support each other and treasure memories.”

Individual elements cost £30 with larger arrangements also available. All proceeds support patient care. Elements can be bought from the Hospice on 01625 665692 or via


Camilla Crockett, the Hospice’s Relationships Manager, said: “Gathering is a unique, meaningful Valentine’s gift.”

“People have been purchasing them because they love the design and the elements are more than just decoration. They have a meaning behind them and provide funds to the Hospice.”

Small sculptures are £500; large sculpture £1,500 and a painted watercolour of Gathering is £225. Each is signed and numbered by the artist.


Gathering in a decorative display.

Art Fair Cheshire 2019 Success!

Art Fair Cheshire raised a bumper £45,000 for East Cheshire Hospice as it celebrated its 20th anniversary in style.

The biennial event enjoyed a record year of sponsorship and the donation will fund the charity’s art therapy unit.

The Hospice, which held an afternoon tea to thank organisers and volunteers, has received around £400,000 from Art Fair Cheshire in the last two decades.

Hospice Director Karyn Johnston said: “We’re so grateful to everyone who helped make the event such an outstanding success. It’s an amazing donation and represents a huge amount of care for our art psychotherapy service.”

The Art Fair Cheshire committee adopted a new look for the autumn 2019 edition at Macclesfield Town Hall, a move that paid off handsomely.

Co-chair Georgie Johnson said:  “Art Fair Cheshire went in a new direction this year with a fresh look and feel and we’re really pleased how it went.

“It was extremely well attended and we couldn’t have run it without help from more than 70 volunteers. We want to thank them all and everyone else who contributed in so many different ways.”

Each participating artist donated a minimum of 40 per cent of every sale to the Hospice with more than 80 artists and crafts experts exhibiting work.

Art Fair Cheshire also organised another exhibition, ‘Gathering’ by artist Susie MacMurray, an installation which enjoyed pride of place at Tatton Park for four months.

The art work drew wide praise from Tatton visitors, helping raise awareness of Art Fair Cheshire and the Hospice.

Co-chair Steven Dalton said: “Gathering was a huge success and we’re grateful for the massive support from volunteers. Lots of people have bought souvenir elements of the installation and all proceeds go directly to the Hospice.”

Elements available in unique editions can be bought until March 2020 via