AN EYE-CATCHING mural dreamt up by a Mount Florida shop owner in memory of her late mother is bringing joy to lockdown walkers.

Suzi Nicol’s brief to scenic artist Ashleigh Blair – a set painter for top TV programmes including Outlander and Still Game - was “something sunshiney, with bees and flowers” and the result is a vivid, glorious display which now adorns the wall outside Suzi’s gift shop Sunshine No 1.

“My mum was a beekeeper, so bees and sunshine are a recurring theme throughout the shop,” explained Suzi. “Ashleigh has done a brilliant job and everyone loves it. My social media pages have been full of positive comments.

“We have even had people deliberately come past on lockdown walks to have a look.”

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Suzi’s mum, Elizabeth Fountain had bowel cancer. Six months after she died, Suzi’s father Ian was diagnosed with the same thing.

“At that point, I gave up the job I was miserable in and followed my dream to open a Scottish art and gift shop,” said Suzi.

“This year, I’m celebrating five years since I got the keys to this unit and my dad is celebrating five years clear of cancer.”

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Like all small business owners, Suzi feared the worst when COVID-19 forced her to close her shop.

“It was a worrying time,” she said. “I have been very fortunate in that I have managed to get financial help from the government when many other self-employed people, such as freelancers and small limited company business owners, have not.

“We have a strong community here and we all try to support each other. I’ve heard of a few businesses who won’t be reopening and that is just heartbreaking.”

Suzi added: “I decided to use some of the money to support someone who had not received any help by employing a local artist to paint a mural on the side of the shop.

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“Ashleigh is usually a set painter in the theatre, TV and film industry and lost all her work overnight due to the pandemic.”

For Ashleigh, whose work has also graced the stages of top Glasgow theatres the Tron and the Citizens, having the chance to work on the mural was a fantastic boost.

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“It has been a tough few months,” she admitted. “Suzi’s mural was great fun to do and it’s lovely to work on something that is not going to be taken down and packed away into storage in a few weeks. We had lovely comments from people walking by.”

Suzi, who is looking forward to re-opening her shop once restrictions are lifted, agreed: “Ashleigh has done a wonderful job. My dad thinks it’s fantastic,” she said, adding with a smile: “And I know my mum would have loved it too.”