HE may be an artist on the pitch, but Black Cats star David Vaughan still has a lot to learn from his mum when it comes to neat touches off it.
Renal patient Alwena, whose son moved to the Stadium of Light from Blackpool this summer, is displaying a talent for painting after taking part in a hospital art project.
The 52-year-old, who was in her 30s when she first developed kidney problems and underwent unsuccessful transplants in 1986 and 1993, is among patients who are using the hobby to help them relax.
“I have surprised myself because I had never done anything like this before,” she said.
Alwena has been receiving dialysis for 18 years, attending hospital three mornings a week for three-and-a-half hours.
The part-time shop worker used to spend most of her time on dialysis reading or listening to the radio until she was persuaded by art tutor Jan Gardner to have a go at painting.
“I said I couldn’t draw, but she talked me into it,” said Alwena, from Abergele, North Wales. “Jan never tells us what we have to do, but is always on hand to help and advise.”
Son David, 28, said the pioneering project at Glan Clwyd Hospital, in Bodelwyddan, North Wales, has made a big difference to his mum’s life.
“Dialysis has a big effect on a person’s life,” he said. “My mum has to go to the unit three times a week and is there for four or five hours at a time.
“It makes going on holiday or even going away for a weekend almost impossible, but there’s no way round it.
“Something that can help them occupy their time while they’re in hospital is very important and I think it’s a brilliant idea for them to get involved with art.
“I didn’t realise my mum was keen but she probably didn’t have much time for it after me and my brother came along.
“She has shown me a few of the pictures she’s done and they’re very good.
“We’ve got a calendar she did recently and it’s hanging up on the wall.”
The scheme was set up by course provider Coleg Harlech WEA and the Friends of the Renal Unit.
Dr Aled Lewis, consultant nephrologist, said: “Integrating art into medicine is very important as dialysis treatment means a lot of time in hospital.
“The art lessons help our patients to fill this time, and not only improve their art skills but also their self-esteem.”