AN INSPIRATIONAL mouth painter left paralysed after a stroke aged 14 has seen one of his paintings sold for £250.
Joseph ‘Lockers’ Lockington, who had a spinal stroke in 2012, developed a love of painting – starting with a painting by numbers kit – during lockdown.
He was approached by Wasps Rugby Club to create the club’s crest with all proceeds of the sale going towards a specially-adapted campervan for Lockers to go on holiday.
He and his friends were duly hosted at the Coventry Building Society Arena for Wasps’ fixture against Sale Sharks.
Joseph’s issues began aged just 14 when he experienced sudden, excruciating back pain.
He had suffered a spinal stroke, which caused paralysis from the neck down and left him unable to breathe without a ventilator.
He spent more than a year in the care of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, having to adapt to a completely different way of life.
“I started mouth painting two years ago during the first lockdown because I was bored and my sisters, who love art, said I should give it a go,” he said.
“I found out I loved it and have since done quite a few commission pieces, with paintings of artists such as David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix and The Stone Roses – alongside some landscape pieces and the odd pet portrait.
“My friend Ben, who completed an Ironman Triathlon to help raise money for the campervan, put me in touch with Wasps and the club said they would be interested in working with me.
“I’m a rugby fan and follow Old Edwardians and England, so to get this opportunity was great.
“I really appreciate all of the fundraising my friends have done and by selling paintings it will go some way to helping me get the campervan.”
Joseph’s friend James White is currently training to run 48 miles in 48 hours to support Lockers, and is hoping to raise £10,000 towards the vehicle.
Aimee Richardson, charities executive at Wasps, said: “After seeing some of the incredible painting and drawings that Joseph had created using his mouth, we were really keen to work with such a talented individual to create a unique version of our logo.
“His story is truly inspirational and we’re hoping to be able to work with Joseph in the future to create something more permanent for the stadium.”
To donate to James White’s 48 miles in 48 hours challenge visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/james-white-4-lockers