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Grateful patient gives portrait to chemo unit

Drawing of Bowie

Caption:The photograph, taken in the Haematology Day Unit, shows (from left to right) Rita Phillips carrying her son’s drawing, Clive Phillips and Dr Ellen Gokkel.

25 July 2017

A stunning portrait of David Bowie has been donated by an amateur artist to the hospital team in Colchester that has been looking after him for the seven months.

The pastel drawing by Clive Phillips, a grandfather who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma two days before last Christmas, will go on permanent display in the Haematology Day Unit at Colchester General Hospital.

Mr Phillips, 57, of St Osyth, has been going to the unit regularly all year as an outpatient for chemotherapy and will start the next stage of his treatment next month at Barts Hospital, London.

He said the 24ins by 19ins drawing had taken between 25 and 30 hours to complete.

“I’ve been drawing since I was five but now that I’m no longer working I’ve got more time to devote to it,” he said.

“I do commissions and also sell work in shows and exhibitions. The most I’ve sold something for is £700.

“I wanted to do a drawing for the staff on the unit and Dr Ellen Gokkel to thank them and for being there for me. I may have finished chemotherapy in Colchester but the drawing means that a piece of me will always be there.”

When Mr Phillips presented the drawing to the unit, he was joined by his 85-year-old mother Rita Phillips who worked as a nurse for 30 years.

Dr Gokkel, who is one of the haematology doctors, said: “The whole team on the Haematology Day Unit is very proud of Clive and touched by his generous and amazing gift.”

Mr Phillips said that about 90% of his cancer had been eradicated and he felt significantly better than he did earlier in the year when he had excruciating back pain.

He praised his partner Jeanette McDarby, who lost both her parents to cancer and who has been acting as his nurse at home.

Thanking her for all her input, he said she had been exceptionally supportive from the very beginning, such as by putting herself in charge of his complex medication regime and making sure he followed dietary advice.

Mr Phillips has three children – two sons and a daughter aged 26-38 – and seven grandchildren between the ages of four and 20. Before his illness, he used to own a drilling business.

As well as chemotherapy at Colchester, he has undergone back surgery at Ipswich Hospital.