The Maureen Wilkinson Memorial Fund



My beautiful artist and poet wife Maureen passed away on 30th October 2015 following a series of devastating strokes and cancer.  We met on our first day at art school aged 16 and 17 and enjoyed 54 wonderful years together.  Our last holiday was in Nepal in March of last year, just before the earthquakes.  We had been many times before and loved its vibrant culture and people, but were constantly reminded of the extreme poverty and obscene injustices that many suffer.  We were particularly moved by the plight of the tens of thousands of trafficked, enslaved (debt bonded) and orphaned children, and we wondered how we might help lighten their burden in some way on our return home. 


Sadly, Maureen’s illness and premature death prevented the realization of this charitable venture during her lifetime.  I have therefore set up a Memorial Charity in her name,, to specifically help some of these desperate children.  She would be heartened to know that her passing was productive of something that offered a lifeline to others.  


Projects will depend on bowl sales, voluntary donations and the sale of prints of Maureen’s own beautiful artwork (more on this later) and various fund-raising activities. The money raised will determine the nature and extent of our commitment…a large amount might fund a safe refuge or children’s home, while a lesser sum might liberate, rehabilitate and support some needy individuals.  


This is an independent hands-on charity with help delivered directly to those in need to ensure maximum benefit without overheads.  It is hoped that in time Maureen’s Memorial Charity will become an enduring and fully-fledged registered charity, and that we will be able to maintain a regular program of support for years to come. In the meantime I will personally ensure that every penny raised will be spent wisely to alleviate suffering.  


Our artist/film-maker son Paul lives and works in Nepal, and he and I are already in contact with a number of independent aid workers and NGOs working directly with rescued and vulnerable children.   I will be returning to Nepal this March (2016) to explore the options and hopefully initiate the first of our projects.  I will keep you informed of progress.  With love and thanks, Fred Wilkinson.

UPDATE - I was there in March/April, again in May, and once more in June. See for info.)




Imagine what life is like for an innocent teenage girl trafficked to India for the sex industry...around 10,000 Nepalese girls suffered this fate in 2014.  Imagine what life is like for a young village girl involuntarily sold into domestic servitude and never to see her family again, or a 12-year-old debt-bonded boy destined to work in appalling conditions in a brick factory for the rest of his life.  Imagine what it's like for a child trapped in a fake money-making ‘orphanage’ with neither care nor love.  These are some of the children Maureen's Memorial Charity will help.


PLEASE GIVE GENEROUSLY in Maureen’s memory.  Thank you, Fred

PATHWAY TO THE BEACH - oil painting by Maureen Wilkinson (prints available)


To view more of Maureen's artwork, and perhaps buy a print in support of this fund, please visit her Facebook Memorial Page HERE.



Maureen Wilkinson - A Brief Biography


Maureen was born in London in 1944. Her father lost his sight in an accident shortly after her birth, and thereafter the family lived in fairly frugal circumstances. Throughout her childhood she acted as her father’s ‘eyes’, describing things to him and guiding his excursions, and these experiences were to have a profound effect upon her later perceptions as an artist and poet. In the early 60’s she studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, where she met and married fellow student Fred Wilkinson. After graduating she exhibited in solo and group shows in the UK and Europe, before working for fifteen years as a teacher to emotionally disturbed adolescents, and later to younger dyslexic pupils.


As a working mother with three young children there was little time during these years to pursue her career as an artist, and instead she translated her visual ideas into poetry. During the 1980’s and 90’s she won several major literary prizes, was published by Peterloo Poets, and had work included in many anthologies. Poems were often inspired by intensely visual ideas or visual sequences, and this resulted in her practice of partnering poetry with some visual works, and the inclusion of text in some pictures.


In 1981 Maureen moved to a small farm in Cornwall with her husband and family. Virtually overnight they became farmers...growing fruit and vegetables, hand-milking two house-cows and rearing pigs, poultry, sheep and cattle in an attempt to become self-sufficient. She was enchanted by the space, solitude and beauty of her new environment, and an awareness of ‘self’ within an intimately known landscape became a profound creative influence.


In the mid 1980s the Wilkinsons embarked on a period of world travel, their trips embracing South America, Nepal, India, China and Thailand, but particularly focusing on the Far East. They eventually made more than 40 trips to the Indonesian island of Bali to study its art and culture. This led in 1988 to the opening of Cornwall’s renowned Morning Price Gallery in Falmouth, specializing in ethnic Art & Crafts from around the world. In the early 90s they opened a second gallery in Falmouth and others in Penzance and Penryn. The Wilkinsons were early pioneers of fair trade. They personally purchased and commissioned their stock directly from artists and craftsmen at source in the country of origin, and later provided well-paid regular employment for about 200 craft families in some of the poorer regions of the world. Their Falmouth Gallery remained open until 2004 when the business emphasis switched from retail to web-based wholesale. Trading as World Art & Crafts the Company supplied fair trade decorative and ethnic handicrafts to retailers throughout the UK and Europe until its eventual sale in 2010. Maureen continued to write and paint throughout this period.


In 2008 Maureen moved to a cliff top home facing the ocean in a remote part of Cornwall, where she lived with her artist/photographer husband Fred and their two red setters. She continued to paint, make collages, and write poetry until shortly before her death. Her last collage ‘The Garden of Dreams’ was based on a beautiful walled garden of that name in Kathmandu that she visited a few days prior to her first stroke. Her last poem ‘Stroke’ reflects on her experience. Sadly, both works were unfinished when she passed away on 30th October 2015 after a series of devastating strokes and cancer.


Maureen was beautiful, enchanting, imaginative, kind and loving…always a joy to be around. She painted, she wrote, she gardened, she baked and she laughed! She was quirky, courageous and adventurous, and put her heart and soul into everything she did. She always saw the best in people, and quietly sought to comfort and heal. She believed in the power of love. She was an inspirational and magical woman…a natural mystic, a woodland spirit! Many will recall her quiet wisdom, ready smile and her laugher. She was my wonderful soul mate for 54 years and I cannot imagine life without her…although I feel her presence everywhere!  Fred Wilkinson.


The Amnesiac's Dream


The Amnesiac's Dream won 1st Prize in the 1990 Peterloo International Open Poetry Competition.  It has been published in the Guardion and numerous poetry journals, and is included in Maureen's collection 'The Blindman Goes from A to B' published by Peterloo Poets (currently out of print).  It seems ironic that this poem, written some 25 years before her death, should so closely mirror Maureen’s condition following the devastating strokes that left her unable to speak or do anything for herself, and with little more than her mind intact. R.I.P. my love.




It seems my face is now a race of clouds:
Some of them dragons, some of them galleons,
or birds, or ghosts of words, or brief charades.
You must excuse me shouting, but my mouth’s
a dome of wind.  I really don’t know who
sent all these dreams, the one about a bowl
of yellow sand, the one about a grave
shaped like a woman’s body made of sky.
The one about the edge that shapes away
into a blindman’s template, and you have
to guess its continent.  I keep consulting
oracles: I’ve been the Empress, the Moon
and the Hanged Man.  I have been swords
crossed in a corn field. I’ve loosed flocks of birds
from my raised hands.  They sky-write in a swarm
of rapid hieroglyphics which reveal
my name, my future, everything, except
I can’t decipher it quite fast enough
to keep pace with the tempo of their wings
erasing air’s white pages, which contain
the poem of myself, which I forgot.


At the same time it seems I am a void
in which impressions darken without trace,
while secretly inside me they remake
this landscape, like the network of a brain
without a wiring diagram.  It seems
I am a crazy bank of films
with different plots, but playing all at once;
a shadow play, a child’s construction kit
made up with some improbable mistakes.
It seems I am decked out in all my loves.  My fingerprints are made
of your warm skin, and time is scars and banners, and it seems
my bones are bedrock granite sunk so deep
they cannot speak, though they know everything.
It seems as if my throat’s an unknown song.
It seems the tides are levied by my breath.
It seems that I might drown in memory.


Maureen Wilkinson






Beyond the door a sea of plunging dark,
a blinding overlay of turbulence,
a star-struck forest-crush of broken airs, a
leafy-lashing fingering of wet
which I now measure, fathom, piece and part
to milk the cow,
to bring the night cow down.


That swell of bovine yellow, sodden dark, too
silage sweet, too bruised with sweeping night
to find in fields. So come
my wallow one,
my grazing manatee, fill out your hide
with wind, with leather wings,
the moon has drowned, the sun’s extinguished, all
the daisy stars
have floated off much higher than our sight
and undulate in phosphorescent tides. Come lumbering plush
below the milky way
though winds lock milk-wet fingers in our path
answer my cry
and bring the night cow down.


What lack of rhyme or reason guides this task, repeated nightly?
Brightly from the hill
My house stands firmly anchored;
tele's on,
electric light has tamed the sucked up air,
the books have formed a regiment of words,
the walls are vertical, the carpet's square,
the roof’s a sanity of tessellation.

The needling rain tattoos my docile flesh and spreads in coloured cold,
like peacock's eyes.
No longer seeing, I reach in the dark
a denser shadowing, a brew of grass, a swaying cauldron-hide,
and the opacity of her black breath.


steaming bulk. We're turning to the light. I hear your sway 
descend the clumping path, the flattened lumping rushes of the hill.
Come coloured cow, the Chagall of my heart
and manifest your density of light.
Come, let me milk the whiteness of the dark.


Maureen Wilkinson


Bringing The Night Cow Down won 1st Prize in the 1987 Peterloo International Open Poetry Competition.  It has been published in the Guardion and numerous poetry journals, and is included in Maureen's collection 'The Blindman Goes from A to B' published by Peterloo Poets (currently out of print).  The picture was painted some 23 years later in 2010.  If you are resident in the UK and would like to buy a print of this picture please scroll up and order a Gift Voucher.  All proceeds go to Maureen's Memorial Fund to help rescue trafficked, enslaved and orphanded children in Nepal.