An incredible young artist received a surprise gift and high praise from a huge star after impressing with her stellar talents.
Nine-year-old Mairead Shaw painted an extraordinary portrait of Sir Rod Stewart and his wife Penny Lancaster, inspired by the musician offering the unique top prize of a Ritz dinner with the couple in a fundraising auction run by Maggie’s Lanarkshire.
She handed in the painting to staff at the cancer caring centre in Airdrie – along with a kind donation of her pocket money to help with their work in supporting patients and their loved ones.
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They in turn were able to send the artwork, depicting the couple on their Paris honeymoon, to Sir Rod and Penny; and Mairead recently received a special surprise when she was invited along to the Airdrie centre when it welcomed back visitors as the latest coronavirus restrictions eased.
Sir Rod had written back to Mairead, enclosing signed photos – and an unexpected gift of £200 for the generous Muirhead youngster.
Proud mum Karen told Lanarkshire Live how Mairead had begun painting commissions suggested by relatives during lockdown, saying: “She did one of a scene in Montmartre for her uncle and we were blown away by it.
“Her dad, Gary, had seen that Sir Rod and Penny were offering a prize in the Maggie’s auction; they’d been on their honeymoon in Paris so Mairead chose to do a scene showing them at the Eiffel Tower.
“She was very chuffed that Sir Rod got her painting, but she didn’t know until we went to Maggie’s recently that he’d sent something in for her, and when she opened it she was so surprised and absolutely delighted.
“He’d sent two signed photos and written her a wee message, and also said she should use the gift to buy more paints and art materials.”
Mairead, a pupil at St Barbara’s Primary, shared her success at school and is continuing to develop her artistic skills.
Karen said: “She was delighted and took the signed photos to school to show everybody – she’s really proud of herself and everyone is really chuffed for her.
“She’d known beforehand that I like Rod Stewart and I’d played her some of his music, but now she really understands how famous he is!
“Mairead was delighted to be able to go and see Maggie’s Lanarkshire; we hadn’t known a lot about it before and she asked lots of questions as she was really interested in what they do to help people.”
Her mum added: “We knew from quite a young age that she was good at drawing, and I enjoyed art as well so try to encourage her; she’s quite a perfectionist and spent a long time working on her painting of Sir Rod and Penny.
“She loves drawing and designing clothes and just sits and doodles away, and she wants to have her own business making T-shirts and clothing.”
Maggie’s Lanarkshire representative Heather McArthur said: “Mairead is a real budding artist; we sent the picture to Sir Rod and she was absolutely delighted with her gift from him.”