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Beccles couple find instant success with new art gallery

PUBLISHED: 14:04 30 August 2017 | UPDATED: 14:13 30 August 2017

Toad Row Gallery. Owners, artists and tutors Mike and Caz Cullis. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Toad Row Gallery. Owners, artists and tutors Mike and Caz Cullis. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

archant 2017

A retired Beccles couple, who found solace in art while battling serious illness, have found unexpected success from their hobby.

Toad Row Gallery. Owners, artists and tutors Mike and Caz Cullis. Picture : ANTONY KELLYToad Row Gallery. Owners, artists and tutors Mike and Caz Cullis. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Mike and Caz Collis opened Toad Row Gallery, in the Henstead Art and Craft Centre, on May 1, 2017.

Four months on the gallery has managed to sell two-thirds of its stock - a triumph which has shocked the owners who create the majority of art on display.

“It’s amazing, it really is”, said Mrs Collis. “We don’t think of it as a business at all - for us it’s a hobby.”

The 54-year-old has been making art all her life but it was only when arthritis forced medical retirement upon her 10 years ago that she began to take it more seriously.

Toad Row Gallery. Owners, artists and tutors Mike and Caz Cullis. Picture : ANTONY KELLYToad Row Gallery. Owners, artists and tutors Mike and Caz Cullis. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Along with her husband, who has a heart condition and is currently recovering from a recent cancer battle, Mrs Collis began spending more time making art.

She prefers to use mostly pastel and acrylic while he uses water colours.

The gallery, she says, was started to “give us something to do other than just milling around - it has provided us with a focus”.

Speaking of her husband’s art, Mrs Collis said: “Before he wouldn’t display it or show it to anyone.

“The whole point of starting the gallery was because of the health scare - we were both retired, floating along, doing nothing.”

Now the couple are even hoping to inspire and help those in a similar situation. They each teach a class in their preferred medium on alternative days.

Mrs Collis said: “With older people, or those with a disability it helps to get out of the house and do something different.

“Art is something anybody can do, it’s fun and it adds another dimension to people’s lives.”

With the gallery proving to be an instant hit among the local community there seems to be no stopping the couple.

“As long as we are able to keep selling paintings and having a good time we will continue”, said Mrs Collis.

The gallery is open 10am to 3pm from Tuesday to Sunday.

For more information email toadrowgallery@yahoo.com or call 07766225374.

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