Ashley Bayston arrived in Newcastle shortly before Covid. Locked down with only a fabulous view of the river and an off-piste racing pigeon for company, she explored the quayside and the city on her daily walks and was inspired to start drawing again after 20 years. Last year she illustrated a little book by author Michael Chaplin, produced to raise money for the West End Foodbank.
Up the hill from Paradise
Up the Hill from Paradise is a celebration of Benwell and drawings from the book are currently on display on the 6th floor of City Library, Newcastle, until 30 November. The artwork on display is available to purchase in exchange for a donation to the Foodbank.
Exhibition Park has always been Ashley’s happy place. She recently gave Urban Green a portfolio of drawings of the park and 10 of these are on display at the café through 12 November, and for sale with proceeds to Urban Green.
Ashley is the Founder and Chair of the Trustees of the Lewy Body Society. (Registered charity 1114579 in England and Wales and SC04704 in Scotland) . The Society is the only charity in the UK, and was the first in Europe, dedicated exclusively to Lewy body dementia.
For the past three years she has produced a fundraising calendar filled with lots of things to look at whilst the kettle boils. The 2024 calendar with c 185 images, is available to buy online at www.lewybody.org/shop
When Shaun the Sheep recently took the Toon, Ashley drew all of them and gave the portfolio of 100 drawings to St Oswald’s, who reproduced them as postcards, notebooks and prints which they sold at the farewell events.
A retired barrister, Ashley never had a private client. All her work was funded by Legal Aid or pro bono. “This really isn’t much different,” she said, “but a lot less stressful. People don’t go to lawyers for fun.”