ROTHERHAM-born artist and wildlife campaigner Pollyanna Pickering, who became known for her encounters with big cats, has died aged 75.
Relatives have announced that the animal sanctuary owner died on March 29 after a short illness.
Her daughter Anna Louise Pickering said: “To the very end she was a champion of environmental conservation, both on the national and international stage, and an indefatigable campaigner for the welfare of endangered, sick and vulnerable creatures.
“She reached the pinnacle of success in her chosen field while achieving international respect for her passionate commitment.
“But despite her incredible success in her chosen vocation ultimately Pollyanna will be remembered by me, her family, and her friends as warm-hearted, generous and kind - as a loving and much loved mum – and for her uniquely humorous take on life!
“Her artwork will stand alongside her conservation work as a continuing inspiration and her lasting legacy.”
Pollyanna (pictured) spent her childhood in Whiston, and began her art training at Rotherham Art School.
In her first year she won the award for most promising student - and met her future husband, Ken Pickering, an industrial designer.
She went on to study for a further three years at the London Central School of Art, graduating with distinction.
Pollyanna was regularly commissioned to produce art prints and cards by charities including the WWF, Guide Dogs for the Blind and the RSPB.
Her work has been exhibited in many galleries, including the Royal Academy, and celebrity collectors of her work include John Hurt, Virginia Mckenna and David Bowie.
Sheik Mohammed has a special series of paintings of his Ascot winners, while Pollyanna was even commissioned to paint the Queens’ favourite racing pigeon.
The illustrator has spent much of her working life drawing and painting endangered species and received a lifetime achievement award at the Inspirational Women Awards in Derby in 2015 for her\!q conservation work.
She made regular expeditions to see animals in the wild and artwork resulting from the trips was sold to raise funds for their conservation.
Her 2007 book, The Eye of the Tiger, featuried the story of two expeditions to India when she painted tigers.
In 2016, she joined famous names such as Dame Judi Dench, Brian Blessed and David Cameron in producing artwork for a charity auction which raised almost £1,000 for Rotherham Hospice.
And last year, Pollyanna, who lived in Derbyshire, won the gold medal for the Best Painting in Show at the Association of Animal Artists Annual Exhibition in Cheshire for Jacob’s Ram, a portrait of a sheep.
A memorial service will be held at 4pm next Wednesday at Grenoside Crematorium.
Family flowers only are requested but donations can be made to the wildlife charity the Pollyanna Pickering Foundation, which is planning future fundraising exhibitions of Pollyanna’s work, at https://www.memorygiving.com/pollyannapickering.
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