Published: 00:00, 22 February 2007 |
Updated: 11:00, 22 February 2007
ARTIST Christine Merton, a leading light in the Whitstable art community, has died at the age of 82.
Ms Merton was one of the founding members of the Whitstable Contemporary Arts (WCA), a pressure group responsible for the creation of the town's Horsebridge Centre.
In recognition of this the centre will host her last exhibition after her funeral next Friday.
Ms Merton was born in Germany. She was six when the Nazis took power. Her father was Jewish and spent time in a concentration camp before fleeing abroad.
After the war, and following the death of her mother, Ms Merton came to England. She married a young officer in Military Intelligence, Wilfred Dewhirst.
The couple, who divorced, moved from Yorkshire to London and when her two children, Nick and Pauline, were old enough she attended art college.
She was later appointed as a lecturer at the John Cass College in Whitechapel. After retiring to Whitstable, her dedication to WCA resulted in a former fruit and veg shop becoming an art gallery near the Horsebridge, which eventually became the new centre.
For the past six years Ms Merton had suffered from dementia and son Nick Dewhirst, 57, regards Whitstable’s community spirit as pivotal in ensuring she did not end up in a care home.
Countless neighbours, friends and concerned strangers returned Ms Merton to her home in Island Wall after finding her wandering around town, unable to remember where she lived.
Mr Dewhirst said: “She achieved her final goal to die a free person, living life to the full in the community until her very last day - in blissful ignorance of the confused, lonely or deserted fate of so many others who suffer dementia in strange places.
“It is thanks to the wonderful people of Whitstable that this did not happen to her and I do not believe that could happen in many places.”
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Find out what's going on in the garden, with Kent expert Lucy Hewett's weekly update.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.