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the PORTFOLIO

The Portfolio As an adjunct to his book, Fred compiled a travelling exhibition in the form of a portfolio containing the original water-colour paintings complete with the supporting items.

This portfolio has been to various venues, attracting considerable interest and Fred has now donated it to the National Memorial Arboretum, near Lichfield, U.K., within the National Forest, which is being opened in the year 2000 where it will be on permanent display to the public.


Fred Seiker with the Portfolio

Following is the story of the
"The Portfolio Experience"

My name is Portfolio. There are a vast number of Portfolios about, some more interesting than others. I believe that I am quite different from most of my namesakes.

My creator is Fred Seiker. Before his sketches and paintings gave me life, they were displayed at the Bevere Vivis Gallery on the outskirts of Worcester. They were unusual pictures. You see, Fred had been a P.O.W. of the Japanese army and he is a survivor of the Thai-Burma Railway, also known as the Railway of Death. Fred's pictures show with graphic clarity some of the atrocities carried out by the Japanese on Fred and his comrades. The exhibition had considerable impact on the public and the media.

When the exhibition ended, the paintings were reproduced as prints in a book entitled 'Lest We Forget'. The book has been sold world wide to considerable acclaim. The book is published by Bevere Vivis Gallery Books Ltd. Some copies are still available from the publisher. The original paintings were assembled within my covers and as such gave life to another member of the Portfolio clan.

My creator and protector Fred, showed me to the people. It was not an amusing experience. I remember an occasion when I was taken to Blackpool to the annual re-union of ex-P.O.W.'s of the Far East. I was quite a celebrity. People stood in line to look at the pictures within my covers. I remember seeing sad faces, shaking heads, tearful eyes and sometimes a teardrop splashed on my plastic skin.

Then came a great moment in my life. I became a celebrity overnight. Amidst speeches, flashlights, and the presence of dignitaries, I was handed over to the Chairman of The Three Pagodas Group for the purpose of being sent to Thailand for permanent display in a museum located along the old track of the infamous railway.

There was a second occasion when I was the centre of interest. The Australian representative of the museum was in London on business. During his visit I was handed over to him so he could take me with him to Thailand. Again flashlights,and speeches. Fred was sad though, because he realised that he was loosing me for good.

I eventually departed with Rod the Australian to the airport for my flight to Bangkok. Rod never let me out of his sight. I sat next to him on the floor of the plane, during the entire flight to Bangkok, where we got into a land rover. We arrived at a place called Kanchanabury where Rod lives. I was shown to a lot of people, many of them dressed in uniform. They talked in a language I did not understand.

Then one day, I was locked in a dark cupboard where I remained for a very long time. I did not like this one bit. I did not come all the way to Thailand to be locked in a cupboard. I was sure my creator Fred would be very worried about me and that he would rescue me as soon as he could. Then, one day the cupboard door flung open and I was yanked out of the cupboard and tossed into Rod's land rover and driven to the Bangkok airport, where I was handed over to a gentleman who was on his way back to London. This time I travelled in the baggage hold of the plane where I was the only one with the name of Portfolio. On arrival in London I was roughly handled resulting in some nasty blisters on my skin.

After a few days I was delivered to the home of Fred my creator. I was received with great relief and gratitude,once he had established that my contents were unharmed. I felt happy at home again.

I have since heard that I am to be permanently housed in a memorial Museum at The National Memorial Arboretum at Litchfield within The National Forest. This memorial is a Millennium project and scheduled to be open to the public around Easter 2000. I am happy about this, because Fred and I will always be close to each other and he can visit me when he likes, to see that I am all right. I for one will endeavour to keep the name portfolio alive so that Fred and his comrades will not be forgotten.

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