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100-year-old Christchurch sisters inspire local artist George Popesco

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THE inspirational independence of two sisters who recently celebrated their 100th birthdays together has been captured by an artist in a painting that is now on display in a London gallery.

The image of Dolly Elford and Kathy Beasley, two surviving triplets who live in Christchurch, was the work of artist George Popesco and is hanging in the Mall Galleries in the heart of the capital.

He created the painting having never met them, and only discovered their story after reading about their big day in the A&T.

The painting of Dolly and Kathy (49888482)
The painting of Dolly and Kathy (49888482)

As reported in the A&T, Dolly and Kathy are well known figures in the town where they often shop and travel around by bus. They recently marked their birthday with a party at Waitrose and a family get-together in Bransgore.

Their independent outlook inspired George to paint an image of the pair making their way along the High Street which he submitted to the Figurative Art Now exhibition.

George, who lives in Christchurch, said: “I have viewed them from afar for the last decade, and had planned the little sketch or image for some time.

“I had never had the occasion and hesitated to introduce myself when spotting them on our High Street, as they busily and, with utmost concentration, navigated the pavements and bus stop.”

Arist George Popesco (49888480)
Arist George Popesco (49888480)

After completing the work, entitled the Christchurch High Street Sisters, George submitted it to the Mall Galleries at the last moment, and was pleased when it was accepted.

George said: “Imagine my surprise when I picked up the newspaper and realised the sisters were also celebrating their 100th birthday. I was very keen to share the picture with them.”

After reading about their lives in the A&T George got in touch and has since sent Dolly and Kathy a print of the work which they inspired.

Dolly and Kathy (49888490)
Dolly and Kathy (49888490)

George said: “I hope eventually to be able to meet the sisters and share the painting with them in person. They are very interesting subjects.”

Born in the Southampton area on 6th July 1921, Dorothy and Kathleen were two of a set of triplets. Their other sister, who emigrated to Canada during the war, died just before Christmas last year, a few months short of her 100th birthday.

After living in Southampton then Salisbury, the sisters moved to Christchurch in retirement. They are well known by the local bus drivers, who will often pause specially to pick them up between stops.

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