An inspirational Solihull mouth painter who was left paralysed after a stroke aged 14 has seen his painting of Wasps Rugby’s logo sold for hundreds of pounds.
Joseph Lockington, who had a spinal stroke in 2012, developed a love of painting during the coronavirus lockdown.
Joseph, known as ‘Lockers’ to his friends, was approached by Wasps to create a unique version of the club’s crest and all proceeds of the £250 sale will go towards a specially-adapted campervan for Joseph to travel the country in.
He and his friends were hosted in the sensory room at Coventry Building Society Arena for Wasps’ recent fixture against Sale Sharks.
At the age of 14, Joseph experienced sudden, excruciating back pain and was rushed to hospital. He had suffered a spinal stroke, which caused paralysis from the neck down and left him unable to breathe without the support of a ventilator.
He spent more than a year receiving medical attention at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, before finally being allowed to go home, and having to adapt to a completely different way of life.
Joseph’s took up mouth painting in April 2020 towards the start of the pandemic, and his first was a painting by numbers multicolour lion. He has since received a number of commission requests – with the Wasps logo commission his latest piece.
Joseph said: “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.
“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 on a piece of art.
“I’m a rugby fan and follow Old Edwardians and England, so to get this opportunity was great. I really appreciated all of the fundraising my friends have done and by selling paintings it will go some way to helping me get a purpose-built adapted camper van which will give me the chance to travel and go on holiday.
“I loved every minute of the game at Coventry Building Society Arena, everyone was extremely welcoming and helpful even though we lost it was still an amazing experience and I couldn’t have asked for better!
“Just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped in anyway and I am very grateful to have my painting auctioned off at the event.”
Joseph’s friend James White is currently training for an attempt to run 48 miles in 48 hours in support Lockers, and is hoping to raise £10,000 towards the specialist adapted campervan.
It follows on from Ben Phillips raising more than £4,000 by completing the Ironman 70.3 Weymouth.
Aimee Richardson, Charities Executive at Wasps, added: “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 further 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