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'A wonderfully free spirit': Eddie Izzard launches friend Susie's book in Ludow

Stand-up comic and actor Eddie Izzard was in Shropshire this weekend to launch a book of the art of a former girlfriend, Susie Church.

'A wonderfully free spirit': Eddie Izzard launches friend Susie's book in Ludow

Susie, who lived in Ludow, died three years ago leaving two sons, Olly and Alex.

A well known member of the community, she worked in the library and was a keen artist.

After her death family and friends wanted to produce a book of her art as her legacy with the result, Catching the Light, which was launched by Izzard at the Ludlow Assembly Rooms on Saturday.

Eddie Izzard with an example of Susie's art

He put on his reading/performance of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe, a very personal tribute to the writer with whom he shares a birthday. Money from the evening was shared between the Ludlow Fringe and Severn Hospice's hospice at home scheme.

Speaking before the performance, the comic paid tribute to Susie.

"We met at Sheffield University and then when we met up again later, in London, we went out with each other for a time," he said.

"I remember she always had a wonderfully free spirit about her."

'She really did rage against the dying of the light'

Izzard said that when Susie was told she had terminal cancer she started to paint at a much higher rate, both on paper and on her tablet, with much of her work paintings of the Ludlow area.

"She wanted to do as much as she could in the time she had left. She really did rage against the dying of the light," he said.

"She studied architecture and you can see that in her paintings. She always said, whatever you want to do, you should put everything into it and go for it.

"Her book is a wonderful legacy. I hope people enjoy her work and her spirit and above all - her ability to catch the light.”

Susie's mother, Helen French, and Olly, 21, were at the evening at the Assembly Rooms.

Mrs French said: "Susie loved art from a very young age, she was always doodling.

"She worked in the library and she also taught art. She loved inspiring others to paint."

Friend, Sam Cole helped to put the book together.

"Susie had a wonderful personality, bubbly and a really involved in the community," she said.

The book, Catching the Light, is available at the Castle Book Shop in Ludlow.

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