Delight as painting sold in Lytham is returned

Alistair Cooke with his painting of his late wife Janet
Alistair Cooke with his painting of his late wife Janet
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A long-lost painting which was eagerly sought by a bereaved husband has been found in quick time – with a little help from the local press.

Amateur artist Alistair Cooke appealed last week for information regarding the whereabouts of the picture he painted almost 20 years ago of his now late wife Janet.

Michael and Kate Watson responded to the appeal for the picture they bought at Lytham Heritage Centre in the early 2000s

Michael and Kate Watson responded to the appeal for the picture they bought at Lytham Heritage Centre in the early 2000s

Alistair sold it during an exhibition at Lytham Heritage Centre in the early 2000s, but following Janet’s death last year from a brain tumour, was keen to buy it back.

His appeal – which appeared in the Lytham St Annes Express and sister titles The Gazette and the Lancashire Post – was spotted in the Express by regular reader Kate Watson from, St Annes.

Now, the oil painting is already back in Alistair’s home in Lea, Preston.

“I couldn’t believe it when I saw the appeal on the front page of the Express ,” said Kate, of Queen Mary Avenue.

“I said to my husband Michael ‘Look, that’s our painting!’ and of course I contacted Mr Cooke.

“The circumstances under which he wanted the picture back were very moving.”

Although she said they were fond of the painting, she was quick to ensure its return.

“It’s a lovely painting and it has moved with us to three different homes over the years. We will miss it,” she added.

“We bought it because it reminded me of a friend but we only happened into the Heritage Centre that day because it was raining.

“I am just glad we saw the appeal and were able to help.”

Alistair, who grew up in Wrea Green, said: “Thanks to Kate and Michael and the Express. I am so pleased the appeal was successful.

“The painting could have ended up anywhere, even in a skip, so it was great to hear it was so close to home.”