Christmas card with a difference

City artist Bill Kirby always provides one of his bestselling paintings of Sheffield past for one of the hospice's exclusive card deigns.
City artist Bill Kirby always provides one of his bestselling paintings of Sheffield past for one of the hospice's exclusive card deigns.
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FORGET the chestnuts roasting on an open fire or even the holly and the ivy - and go instead for a Christmas card with bite.

For while other festive greetings offer nativities, angels and Yule logs, one of the biggest sellers in the 2011 St Luke’s Hospice Christmas card range is likely to be the one with a seasonal shock.

City artist Bill Kirby always provides one of his best-selling paintings of Sheffield past for one of the hospice’s exclusive card designs.

But this year’s image of the Wicker Cinema does away with the snow and provides a different sort of chill.

For the long-demolished cinema, which was well known in later years for its more lurid programmes, is captured in Bill’s distinctive style with a programme that includes Diana Dors pot boiler Passport to Shame, lurid 1959 American melodrama High School Hellcats, and a trio of classic B Movie horror titles - The Creature from the Black Lagoon, I Married a Monster from Outer Space, and Revenge of the Creature.

“We don’t think the Wicker Cinema was the sort of place that showed family films like White Christmas or Scrooge very often,” said hospice area shops manager Chris Quinlan.

“We do know, though, that Bill’s paintings have always proved extremely popular with our supporters and this one, being a little more unusual, is sure to be as big a seller as all the others.

“And, because it isn’t specifically Christmassy, we actually left the inside blank so people can write in their individual Christmas message or use it as a greetings card on other occasions.”

St Luke’s has a series of six cards designed by local artists - the other five all have a strong festive theme - available through the nine St Luke’s Hospice shops, online at www.stlukeshospice.org.uk or via the card hotline 0114 235 7594.