A FAMILY has paid a touching tribute to an artist who defied multiple sclerosis to continue painting.
Hayley Davies, 51, of Mynydd Isa, near Mold, died on Saturday of a chest infection after her immune system had weakened due to the effects of the degenerative muscle wasting disease.
Hayley lost movement below the neck as her multiple sclerosis worsened.
But when she lost control of movement in her hands she started holding the brush in her mouth to continue her love of art.
Her husband, Andrew Davies, 49, and 21-year-old son Rhys, of Glen View, said she was “an inspirational woman”.
Originally from Ellesmere Port, Hayley was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in her early 20s and had been married to Andrew for 23 years.
She had always been artistic, enjoying painting and crafts, but took up painting in earnest as the MS became increasingly debilitating.
“She used to paint with her arms and then they went, and then she started painting with her mouth about five years ago,” Andrew, a plasterer, said.
Son Rhys, who works with his dad, added: “She said she painted better with her mouth than her hands.”
Hayley’s favourite subjects were animals and flowers and she was very pleased when she became one of the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists.
She was particularly proud when she attended one of the organisation’s special events at Winchester Cathedral where she met Sophie, the Countess of Wessex.
In April an exhibition of her work was held in Buckley Library.
“Even with everything she was up against she still managed to achieve, with art and with life itself,” said Rhys.
Andrew said that in the last few years Hayley didn’t have a good quality of life and towards the end was in a lot of pain.
Rhys said that despite this she took great comfort from her artwork and always put everyone else first.
“She never moaned,” said Rhys.
“She never let me go out the house without smiling.
“She wanted me to know she was all right even though I knew deep down she wasn’t. She was a very inspirational woman.”
Andrew added: “She was a fighter and an inspiration.”
Hayley had not been able to work for some years but in the 1990s worked at Mr News in Mynydd Isa, near Mold, and was very well known and loved in the area.
As well as her artwork she took great pleasure in gardening and in the last few years the family moved from Buckley so that she could have her own garden.
Andrew and Rhys said that old friends and neighbours from Buckley are welcome to attend Hayley’s funeral, which is at Bistre Parish Church, Buckley, tomorrow at 9.45am.
“We want to give her a good send off,” Andrew added.
“The more people there the better.” Donations in Hayley’s memory can be made to the Colwyn Bay branch of the RSPCA.