AN OSWESTRY-BASED artist and minister, once a rock star in waiting and a survivor of a heart condition, is set to open an exhibition this week.

Bob Pitcher, 72, originally from Devon, has settled in Oswestry and will be exhibiting his work at the Heritage Centre in Church Street from January 28 onward, from 10am until 3pm each day.

Bob was once a member of The Betterdays, a band some DJs said were destined for bigger things than The Rolling Stones, but once he had recovered from serious heart surgery, he found a new calling.

And he feels his relationship with God is what has driven his life's work, and his art.

"I had a heart operation in 1967, where I was clinically dead for around 15 minutes," he said.

"I have a condition called Tetralogy of Fallot and the doctor operated on me in Bristol.

"It was an operation that the doctor actually filmed and he took to America to show others how to do it.

"Apparently, I am the oldest survivor of the operation.

"When I came out of the hospital, I could definitely feel that I was in God's presence, and that He was everywhere.

"But I felt out of tune with him so I had to try to get in tune with him so I did all the religions, as rock stars did.

"I found a group of people who had what they wanted – they just loved Jesus Christ and let him into their life and it gave them peace.

"I wasn't sure but when I did, I was shaken by his love.

"I left the rock business and retrained as a music teacher at primary level and I wrote a few rock operas for kids based on the church.

"Then I joined the church, and worked in three including my last one. Then I started my art and it's a mix of modern and graffiti, with a bit of 'Banksy' about it."

The Heritage Centre is based within the grounds of St Oswald's Church and more information can be found at