“The thought of slowing down as you get older has never much appealed” says Clifford. As he potters round the makeshift artist’s studio in his front room, “but what can you do when your body starts saying no to you?”

Two of Clifford’s passions in life are performing live music and riding horses, but now in his 80’s the constant gigging and clambering on and off of horses has started to take its toll. “I had to give up horse riding in 2006, under doctors’ orders, I wasn’t happy about it but deep down I knew it was the right thing to do and I was still had my music to keep me active.” Unfortunately in 2010 it became clear to Clifford that he needed to cut back on the number of performances he and his band took on. The retired gentlemen’s fun band still play at least one gig a month but during the day at retirement homes rather than at night in pubs.

Not sure what to do with his new found free time, Clifford pottered down to his garden shed “I was just looking around and I saw a broken step ladder and thought to myself that would make a good easel, I used to draw a little when I was younger but my Dad was dead against it so I stopped”

Armed with his new easel, paints from Lidl and some old strips of wall paper Clifford started to paint. “I instantly enjoyed it but I had no idea what I was doing, so I picked up ‘The Pigeon’ and looked for an art classes”. Clifford discovered LinkAge’s weekly creative painting group at the faithspace in Bedminster. “I wasn’t sure it would be for me as I’m not a professional artist but then I found out no one is, we all do it for fun and to learn”.

Painting has become a priority in Clifford’s life, spurred on the class tutor painting has helped to renew Clifford’s lust for life, “it gives me a great reason to keep active. It’s even changed the way I see the world, everything is a potential painting and sometimes I just can’t wait to get home and start to recreate what I’ve seen”.

Clifford would like to express his thanks to the courses tutors who have an incredible way of putting him and his fellow students at ease, encouraging them to do things they never thought possible including exhibiting their creations at competitions.