Artist Joan McDermott dies aged 88

Artist Joan McDermott, the mother of television and radio presenter Helen McDermott, has died aged 88 after along illness.

Art was woven throughout Mrs McDermott's life as student, businesswoman, hotelier, mother and pensioner.

Her work captured her love of colour and sense of humour, with dashes of dreamlike quality and eccentricity as people flew and butterflies grew as big as the moon in her fertile imagination.

Born in St Albans in 1922 she enrolled at the local art school at the age of 14 but only went for three months before having to take a job to earn money - vowing to paint 'one day.'

She married insurance man Roy and they set up in business together - first with a hardware shop in Berkhampsted and then a hotel in Plymouth, where daughters Helen and Elizabeth grew up.


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Joan once told the EDP: 'The children were my art. I made their clothes, embroidered a lot, sang ... it's all art isn't it?'

After she was widowed she moved to Norwich to be near Helen and enjoyed art classes at Wensum Lodge. She also provided lodgings for actors at her bohemian studio home in the city, before moving to Holt about five years ago.

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Joan painted well into her retirement, and in 2004 teamed up with Helen to provide winter entertainment at the Sheringham Little Theatre - staging an art display in the venue's coffee bar gallery just as her daughter finished a spell as Fairy Bowbells in the Dick Whittington panto.

A funeral for Mrs McDermott will be held at St John's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Norwich on Wednesday July 13 at 1pm

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