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Artistic ‘genius’ Donald dies of cancer aged 80

The Chronicle, Thursday, 9th December, 2010. www.chronicleseries.co.uk 7

CHRONICLEFEATURE

Celebrating Christmas at Congleton Market

A Congleton-born artist described as “a genius and a very rare talent” has died aged 80 after a long battle with cancer.

Despite suffering from oor eyesight following a car crash as a toddler, Donald Pass became a distinguished visionary artist.

One of his students was John Lennon and he was among the first to get art on the curriculum for prisoners.

Mr Pass died on Friday at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. His wife Jacqueline and their close friend Pamela were at his side.

Born in Congleton on 9th September, 1930, he was the second son of Mr and Mrs A J Pass.

After attending Mossley CE School he attended King’s School in Macclesfield.

was too poor due to the car crash in 1932.

Undaunted, he pursued his love of painting and began teaching art at Walsall Art College. From there he moved to Drake Hall Prison where he was the first to secure art as part of the curriculum for prisoners.

Following various other appointments he moved to teach at Liverpool College of Art, where Lennon was one of his students.

Mr Pass was a highly regarded abstract artist in the 50s and 60s. In his earlier career he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Stanley Spencer, Augustus John and LS Lowry, and held several exhibitions, both in the UK and abroad.

Following a mystical experience in an English churchyard in 1969, his art and life changed. He wrote down what happened: “Everything began to change and a tremendous darkness surrounded me. The whole landscape, churchyard, near and distant fields, seemed filled with thousands of figures stretching to the horizon. In the blackness was a tremendous light; large winged figures with faces like lions. A veil had been lifted and I would never again see anything in the same way.”

Dubbed a contemporary William Blake, Mr Pass had developed a love of painting from an early age and attended Burslem College of Art from 1947 to 1951, winning a scholarship to attend the Royal Academy School of Art in London for three years where he won the prestigious David Murray Landscape Award two years running and the RAS silver medal.

Called up for National Service, he opted to sign up for five years ut following a medical examination it was found that his eyesight

Continuing his painting, with many notable portraits including Mike Denness the then England cricket captain, in 1984 he embarked on a series of monumental charcoal drawings depicting the Resurrection.

On seeing these works, Sir John Rothenstein, the then director of the Tate Gallery, was dumbstruck, proclaiming Mr Pass “a genius and a very rare talent”.

He continued in his attempt to convey his unique vision; and in

Congleton-born Mr Pass died on Friday.

his final years attracted the attention of important museum collections in America, Britain and Europe, whilst filmmakers too had started to document his extraordinary story.

A family spokesman said: “Donald remained in touch with his experience until the very end. He will be remembered by his family and friends for his warmth and generosity of spirit, having sought to portray his angelic vision, in fact, he became its embodiment.”

(Submitted photograph).

Well, Christmas is almost upon us again at Congleton Market.

Congleton Market has been serving the needs of the people of Congleton and the surrounding areas since 1272. That’s right, 1272. Isn’t that amazing?

In recent years the market has been managed by Citymarkets and Christmas 2010 will mark the company’s 11th Christmas in Congleton.

The market is in the centre of Congleton at the Bridestones Centre, next door to Morrisons. It features more than 50 independent retailer stalls selling a huge range of goods, including a wide selection of fresh foods, household items, clothing and footwear, household textiles, giftware, Christmas cards, and hardware — in fact, everything you might need from day to day.

The retail market is open every Tuesday and Saturday from 9am until 4pm and a busy car boot sale is held every Sunday between 7am and 1pm.

In addition, a farmers’ market operates from the site on the first and third Tuesday of every month.

The market also has a car boot section open every Tuesday and Saturday with reduced rent stalls offered to car booters every Tuesday in December and January.

A new innovation for 2011 is the launch of the Congleton Craft Fair, with the first day being Sunday, 6th January, 2011. Applications to trade are invited from all craft sellers/exhibitors. All start-up craft businesses are invited to enter a “Dragon’s Den” type competition where the prize will be free stall spaces at the new craft fair.

Further details about the craft fair and the competition are available from cityadvice@yahoo.co.uk or by phoning the market manager Laurence Hodson on 07739 529 225.

Congleton Market will be open on all usual days over Christmas and new year, with an extra trading day on Christmas Eve, Friday, 24th December.

CONGLETON MARKET

Serving the Community since 1272

THETRADERS WOULD LIKE TO WISH ALLOURLOYAL CUSTOMERSAHAPPY XMAS AND PROSPEROUSNEWYEAR

FROM FRESH XMAS TURKEYS

TO GRANDMA’S XMAS PRESENTS

AT AFFORDABLE PRICES

YOU CAN GET IT ALL AT CONGLETON MARKET

XMAS OPENING

TUE. 21st, FRI. 24th OPEN AS USUAL FROM

TUE. 4th JAN

FOR STALL AVAILABILITY AND INFORMATION 07739 529 225