Motor Neurone Disease artist treats Hospice patients to art lesson

  • 6 May 2022

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Male in a wheelchair looking at a laptop with a screen behind

Patients attending a Living Well session were treated to art tuition with a difference. No brushes, paints or paper were present – only ipads!

Rick Nelms, a former academic and international trainer of teachers has found new ways to engage in his artistic career since being diagnosed with a life-limiting condition – a rare Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and was kind enough to share his knowledge at the Hospice.

People living with a life limiting condition are invited to attend regular sessions at the Hospice or online via the Living Well Service. The sessions include a variety of activities which range from physical exercise and relaxation, intellectual stimulation and creative opportunities.

Male sitting in a chair looking at an ipad

Ipads, which were originally donated to our Inpatient Unit by supporters to enable patients to stay in touch with their loved ones when visiting was restricted during the Covid-19 pandemic, were shared with the group once relevant apps had been added, to enable them to take part in the session with Rick.

People sitting in chairs looking at ipads

Faith Macrow, Life Celebration and Creative Activities Coordinator commented:

“We would like to thank Rick and his wife, Sue for the very interesting and enjoyable Ipad teaching session. It was a real joy to see Rick reach this important goal in his living well program and to share this skill with others.  The patients loved it and it was fascinating seeing what creations they could come up with, and the many different shades you can colour your own face, is fun and interesting.”

People sitting in chairs looking at ipads

Rick added:

“It was great fun for me to be able to pass on a lifetime of skill development in just a single session, because one of the photo-to-painting apps which I have discovered, for the iPad, is so suitable as a starting point for someone with no IT skills at all – as well as being useful for me as an expert. It was lovely to be able to step back into my former persona as a teacher for an hour or two.”

Rick shares his creations online and, to date, his talented portfolio includes a diverse collection, which illustrate his life and passions; Living with MND, Formula 1 and Plant Biology.

A green racing car on a track
Formula 1 racing driver, Jim Clark

One of his paintings is of Rick’s sporting hero, Formula 1 driver, Jim Clark.

Parrot and green forest
New World Rainforest

Another is an artistic representation of rainforest biodiversity.

Pictures of man on roof, in hedge, in a wheelchair and the globe
My Shrinking World

Also included is a painting of his own experiences of having MND, called ‘My Shrinking World’, using artwork to help people who do not have experience of MND, get a sense of what it is like. This includes a picture of Rick reroofing a watermill in France, putting out the compost in the garden (and falling into the hedge) and a recent photo of Rick creating his art work on his computer.

People in chairs in a room looking at ipads
Training at the Hospice

Included also is a painting based of a photo taken by his wife, Sue during an ipad art training session at Arthur Rank Hospice Charity aptly titled ‘Training at the Hospice’

You can see more of Rick’s art on his website: and also here:

If you would like to find out more about the Living Well Services and how to refer here:

 You can also read more about Rick and Sue as they sign up to the Star Shine Night Walk here: