In the first of an occasional series looking at some of the groups that get together at Lighthouse, we meet the Poole Leisure Painters.
Founded in 1981 by Mary Daler, other than when the building has been closed for major works, the group has met here ever since and works in close harmony with Lighthouse.
Stella Hardy, a founder member of Poole Leisure Painters, still enjoys coming to this friendly and creative group.
“Lighthouse provides a large, bright, airy room and the staff are helpful and friendly,” she says. “It is a great asset for Poole and I’ve loved being part of it for all these years.”
Hilary Bithell recalls the first time she went along to a session: “As soon as I walked into the room on the first floor as a rather nervous enquirer I knew I had found a very special and unique group. The welcome and acceptance to a new face was fantastic and has not changed in all this time.
“I have now been a member of Poole Leisure Painters for 19 years, having served as Secretary for 11 of them and during that time the group has had its ups and downs, but has always been supported by Lighthouse.
“Coming to Poole Leisure Painters has helped me develop my art, exhibit my work and find long lasting friendship with other artists. We are able to follow our own art ideas amid a lovely atmosphere of fun, laughter and a readiness to help when needed.”
David Reeves has been a regular at Lighthouse since moving to Poole in 1994 and joined the Leisure Painters “a dozen or so years ago.”
He says: “Membership varies from those with skills who can regularly sell, to ‘dabblers’ like me who are there for the fun of it. People will always give encouragement and pass on their painting knowledge. The regular exhibitions give members an incentive to produce of their best.
“The visual arts have also been catered for more effectively in recent years (at Lighthouse). I have been particularly impressed by the recent East London Group: Dorset Days exhibition. Interesting pictures, well displayed and helpful background informative, filling a gap in my knowledge.”
The group’s secretary Heather Toms adds: “I am especially grateful to Lighthouse staff for all their help and support over the 14 years that I have been a member and secretary.
“I knew very little about Lighthouse previously and was not aware how much it contributes to the local community. Sometimes I feel art exhibitions come and go and the public misses out on some great art – Lighthouse should blow its own trumpet about what is on offer!”