PAINTINGS AN 'ISLAND GIFT' TO A FAR AWAY FALKLANDS WAR
• Father Jim Browne and the painting copies of Pope Francis and Archbishop Mark Coleridge.
There are two copies of magnificent paintings that are currently hanging in The Church of the Holy Spirit on Macleay Island.
The story behind the paintings is an epic tale of war, sadness, sorrow, and a brother and son never to be forgotten.
We came across the tale when we visited Father Jim Browne at the Catholic Church on Macleay Island - The Church of the Holy Spirit.
The beautiful paintings, the originals in pastel, are of Pope Francis and of the Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge.
The paintings have been done as a special 'gift' to the Pope and the Archbishop, with the copies, given to Father Browne by English artist, Keith Boldy.
Keith is a renowned and highly regarded portrait artist and is recognised for his work in pencil, crayons and pastels.
Some of his other subjects have included President Obama, Charlie Watts, Sir Richard Branson, Prince Phillip and some of Britain's most famous actors.
Born in Scotland, brought up in South Africa and now retired to Gornal Dudley in the West Midlands of the UK, Keith has a significant link to Macleay Island and to the Falklands War.
It just so happens that Keith's 90-year-old mother, Martha, and his brother, Ron, live on Macleay Island.
They are friends to Father Browne, who is the link in this very extended chain, which includes the Falklands War.
You see, there was another Boldy brother.
His name was Iain MacDonald Boldy, RN, who was killed in action during the Falklands War in 1982.
Such is the family's strong connections, that Father Browne and The Church of the Holy Spirit on Macleay Island has played a significant role in the family's life.
Martha and Ron moved to Macleay several years ago, with artist Keith staying in the UK.
The family, however, brought the memories of fallen brother Iain with them to Macleay Island.
At the rear of the beautiful island church is a lovely refuge for cremated remains and a wall of plaques and memories.
One of the plaques reads:
"In Loving Memory of Able Seaman IAIN MACDONALD BOLDY R.N. 30-09-1961; 21-05-1982 Killed in Action Falklands War 1982. Sadly Missed by Mum and Dad, Brother to Keith and Ron, Requiescat in Pace".
Keith Boldy, as a way of thanks, produced the magnificent portraits of Pope Francis and Archbishop Mark Coleridge.
He gifted the 'originals' to Pope Francis and to the Archbishop. Those paintings are now in Rome and in Brisbane.
By way of thanks to Father Browne for his help and kindness to the Boldy family, Keith had copies produced and framed and has given them to Father Browne and they are now hang in the Macleay Island Church.
Needless to say, the unassuming Father Browne is touched with the Gift and with the family's story.
He is pictured here with both paintings. Enough said!