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'Charismatic, revolutionary, an inspiration' - tributes to Julian Macey who has died aged 99

PUBLISHED: 16:33 29 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:02 29 October 2019

Artist Julian Macey, pictured getting ready for his first solo exhibition.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Artist Julian Macey, pictured getting ready for his first solo exhibition. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

Julian Macey, who has died aged 99, was a talented artist and visionary youth worker who made a success of everything he turned his hand to.

Artist Julian Macey pictured getting ready for his first solo exhibition.
Picture: Nick ButcherArtist Julian Macey pictured getting ready for his first solo exhibition. Picture: Nick Butcher

Failure was not in his vocabulary, said long term friend and painting partner Margaret Carver, who was with him when he died in hospital on Tuesday morning (October 29).

His death means an art exhibition by the society of which he was a member and one-time president will go ahead in celebration of all that he achieved.

Eight of his works have been hung in Great Yarmouth Library Galleries for the show which will be open to the public from Thursday to Saturday.

Although frail and with failing eyesight he was still painting in the open countryside he was proud to call home with Mrs Carver in the summer as they had done for 40 years.

A scene by artist Julian Macey who has died 
Picture: Nick ButcherA scene by artist Julian Macey who has died Picture: Nick Butcher

With a reputation for getting things done Mr Macey had been an inspiration to generations of people attending the Shrublands Youth and Adult Centre in Gorleston which he helped to set up.

The building, a former farmhouse, was handed over to the Great Yarmouth Education Committee in 1944 as a social experiment mixing young people and adults in a meeting place that was designed to foster community spirit.

Mr Macey served as warden between 1949 to 1980 and is widely credited as the motivating force for getting young people involved.

One young member once wrote: "Shrublands made my life and Julian Macey made my life meaningful."

Artist Julian Macey, who has died, loved the Norfolk landscape 
Picture: Nick ButcherArtist Julian Macey, who has died, loved the Norfolk landscape Picture: Nick Butcher

His input has been hailed as life-changing.

Meanwhile Mr Macey was also a talented, self-taught artist, only ever painting for pleasure never to sell.

He was famously persuaded to take up his brushes by Sir Winston Churchill's personal toastmaster.

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The master of ceremonies said, on a visit to Shrublands, the pastime was a good stress-buster and that if the prime minister could find time then so

could Mr Macey.

Because he had given him a gift of brushes Mr Macey said he felt obliged to give it a go.

He staged his first ever solo exhibition last year, after decades of honing his skills.

A great grandfather, Mr Macey was born in Somerset and came to Norfolk after he was demobbed after the war.

St Benet's Marshes by Colin Burns is among paintings on show at Great Yarmouth Library Galleries until Saturday Picture: Margaret CarverSt Benet's Marshes by Colin Burns is among paintings on show at Great Yarmouth Library Galleries until Saturday Picture: Margaret Carver

For the last 15 years he had lived with Mrs Carver and her husband Richard in Caister.

She said it was only in the last few months that his health had gone downhill, although he was still involved in organising this week's exhibition.

"He had a brilliant life and was so highly regarded," she said.

"He has been an inspiration to generations of people. He had a charisma, everybody loved him and he loved people.

"He got the best out of everybody and everybody was important. He was a born leader and was always in charge.

"Getting caught up with Julian was like getting in with a tidal wave - boundless energy, single-minded, and getting the job done."

Mr Macey leaves a daughter-in-law, grandson Lee and two great grandchildren Olivia and Amber,

- The Great Yarmouth and District Society of Artists stages its annual exhibition this week at Great Yarmouth Library Galleries in Tolhouse Street.

It features the works of 12 artists including Mr Macey. It runs from Thursday to Saturday 10-4pm with some works for sale.

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