War veteran’s art therapy class at risk

Richard runs the classes at the Paxton Centre in Lundin Links. Pic: George McLuskie
Richard runs the classes at the Paxton Centre in Lundin Links. Pic: George McLuskie

A disabled war veteran who uses art as a way of escaping pain, is urging Fifers to join his art class, which is at risk of closing due to a lack of participants.

Richard Toole (56) has been running an arts class at the Paxton Centre in Lundin Links for two years, but could soon be forced to stop because of a lack of interest.

Just two people currently attend the class, which means Richard might have to move the class from biweekly to once a month, or even stop running it.

Richard does not get paid for running the class, and has even stopped claiming mileage, despite him having to travel from Glenrothes.

He said that the class has been a big help to the people who attend.

“I was asked to do the class because I do a lot of work with disabled forces,” Richard explained.

“I get them to do paintings using their fingers. It’s mainly to teach people to relax by doing art.

“It is art therapy – it gives people the chance to enjoy doing something and meet people. It helps people a lot. “There is one guy who comes in and uses walking sticks. By the time the class is done, you have to remind him that he’s left his walking sticks behind.

“If I does not pick up then it may have to stop, which would be devastating for me and the people who attend.”

Richard has problems with his spine since 1977 and has undergone five operations, with the last one taking place in 2009.

He admits that art helps him escape the pain.

“I’m in constant pain,” Richard said, “and art helps me get away from it.”

The class is open to anyone in Fife and requires just a £5 donation to cover the cost of the materials.

If interested in attending the class email info@homelands-fife.co.uk or call 01333 329039.