April 27 2020 – Michelle Turner
‘Colonel ’ Tom Moore has become a household name. This incredible and wonderful WW2 veteran had no idea he would become a legend from the ‘simple’ act of walking 100 lengths of his back garden before his 100th birthday on 30th April. Asking for sponsorship for his walk to raise money for NHS Heroes.
This captured the hearts and minds of the nation at such a challenging time and quickly took on a mind of it’s own after the BBC, ITV and other media initially ran with the story and now he is a global phenomenon of the very best kind. The Captain became a Colonel, raising nearly £33m (Just Giving) by the end of his 100th Birthday.
Painting Colonel Tom
The idea to paint Captain, as he was then, Tom, was an easy choice, but at the time it wasn’t because I planned to sell the painting. Since lockdown I have been running my portrait workshop online and on 22nd we were about to start a new subject. Captain Tom’s fabulous face and character was what drew me to choosing him as our focus on that Wednesday.
Painting along with the workshop participants that afternoon, I often post progress work from the group or commissions that I’m working on, on social media, I had no idea what an overwhelming response I’d receive. Comments, likes, shares and enquiries about buying the, at that time, ‘work in progress’ painting
The facebook group Give Captain Tom a Knighthood posted the painting a number of times and Matthew Thomas who runs the group contacted me to ask if he could write an article about the painting for his blog.
When it appeared to be going viral, not able to help in other ways, it made absolute sense to me to auction the painting with all proceeds going to the NHS.
Artists for the NHS
Artists for the NHS is an initiative set up by Paul Stafford (Sculptor and quarter finalist of Masterchef 2019) in association with Robin Hutchinson MBE and London's Gallery Different bringing together around 60 artists and sets out to raise £200,000 to raise funds for Meals for the NHS.
Having contacted Karina Phillips, Director of Gallery Different to see if my Colonel Tom would be a helpful addition, it was immediately accepted.
The Artists for the NHS auction ran 5-12 May finishing on 7pm on 12th May on what would have been Florence Nightingale's 200th birthday.
A number of local media outlets covered the story Milton Keynes FM and on VE Day, I had the pleasure of being interviewed on BBC Radio Northampton by Bernie Keith a very fitting time to talk about Colonel Tom!
Over 60 professional and award winning artists took part in the auction and over £17,000 was raised - all of which will go to Meals for the NHS.
Colonel Tom, Lot 26 came in the top 4 highest bids which was fabulous news! Thank you to everyone who took part in the auction and or liked, shared the posts about the painting.
The story doesn't finish there however that's for another day...