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The Independent Online
Forest Scene, a mural by Ivon Hitchens (1893-1979) at GOLDERS GREEN UNITARIANS' CHURCH, in North London. The canvas was painted in 1921 by Hitchens as a young man: measuring approximately 6ft by 32ft (2m by 10m), it is now undergoing restoration for which the church needs to raise a further pounds 1,750, writes Joanna Gibbon.

Forest Scene was not installed until 1925, when the church was completed: it is thought that the apse was specifically designed for the painting. Ivon Hitchens had just finished studying at the Royal Academy Schools when he painted the mural - his only known work at the time was another, smaller, mural in tempera, for St Luke's Church, Maidstone. The painting's theme was peace, in the aftermath of the First World War; Hitchens said 'the leaves of the trees were for the healing of the nations'.

No one knows how the artist, whose parents lived in West Hampstead, was selected and certainly no one anticipated that he would become one of the leading English landscape painters of this century. Hitchens had his first solo exhibition in 1925 and became a member of the London Artists' Association four years. During the 1930s he was influenced by the work of Braque, experimented with abstraction and later developed his abstracted landscapes. In 1940, he moved to Lavingham Common, near Petworth, in Sussex, where he lived for the rest of his life.

Visitors wishing to see Forest Scene can visit the church on Sundays at 12 noon and 7.30pm, after services, and on Saturday, 12.30-2pm. For further information, contact: Golders Green Unitarians, Hoop Lane, London NW11 8BS, telephone 081-340 6250.

The Andrea Sailing Trust was formed to give disadvantaged young people the opportunity to experience the benefits of sail training by living and working on a traditional ocean-going sailing ship. The trust has bought what was a fishing boat and is now restoring it into a gaff-rigged ketch; a further pounds 28,000 is needed to complete the work and inaugurate the training voyages. The aim is to offer a chance to spend two weeks on the boat to young people whose lives have been disrupted by social or educational problems, or by a history of offending or drug and alcohol abuse. The rigours and excitement of crewing a sailing boat in the open sea should develop confidence and self-esteem.

The Andrea Sailing Trust, 24 Vanbrugh Park, Blackheath, London SE3 7AF, telephone 081-853 3467.

Womankind (Worldwide) formed four years ago specifically to help women in developing countries to start projects which alleviate hardship and bring lasting benefits to their communities. Womankind maintains that women do two- thirds of the hours worked in the world and earn 10 per cent of the income. The charity has supported various initiatives - health, educational, social and agricultural - in Central and South America, Africa and South Asia. In southern India, for instance, Womankind financially supported the Hill Tribes Women's Association, which led to a government subsidy and a local bank loan to buy cross-bred cows for a livestock co-operative: all the villagers helped prepare grazing fields, an irrigation system and a cow byre.

Womankind (Worldwide) 122 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7PT, telephone 071-247 9431.

(Photograph omitted)

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