Guysfield Queens portrait competition draws a clear winner

Residents at Guysfield care home near Letchworth have been paying tribute to The Queen in a competition to draw a portrait of Her Majesty. Retired architect, John Laws-West was the clear winner, and a copy has been sent to The Queen together with a letter of congratulations on her 90th birthday from all the residents and care team at the home.

Guysfield provides residential and dementia care for up to 49 elderly people in Willian. Mr Laws-West, 85, arrived at the home in March 2016 to be near to his daughter and family, who live in Stevenage.

Born in Portsmouth, John studied architecture at Southern College of Art, followed by National Service in the Royal Corps of Signals, stationed in Egypt. He describes the experience as: “Very hot! If you were lucky, you were barracked in the town, but we were under canvas.”

On his return to England, he worked as an architectural assistant at Fareham Urban District Council on the South Coast, studying part-time to become an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects. “There was a big demand for housing at the time,” he recalls, modestly. “We designed 3-bed family houses and also warden-controlled older person’s complexes.”

Of his drawing skills, John says: “It was the one thing I excelled at, at school, I suppose. As a designer you are drawing and sketching all the time. I often say I can’t talk without a pencil in my hand.

“I created the portrait using a soft pencil with a mass of rough lines, then picked out the important features in ink and removed the pencil.”

Liz Parker, Home Manager at Guysfield, says: “Our enthusiastic team of Activities Coordinators involves residents in lots of activities and encourages them to engage in favourite pursuits. John is keen on current affairs and art – he has one of his own watercolours framed in his bedroom. He has also expressed an interest in running art classes for residents, which we will be exploring for the future.

“We hope Her Majesty enjoys John’s portrait of her. I wonder if we will get a letter in reply to ours?”

Guysfield Residential Home

Home Manager

Pawel Michalewicz

Address

Willian Road,
Willian,
Letchworth,
Hertfordshire,
SG6 2AB

Contact
0808 223 5509
View care home

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