A PARALYSED ex-rugby player has caught the attention of celebrities including Usain Bolt, Sir Chris Hoy and Gordon Ramsay – by painting them using just his mouth.
Henry Fraser, 23, from Chipperfield, Herts, was paralysed from the neck down when he banged his head while on holiday five years ago.
After a long stint in hospital and years of therapy, the former Saracens player began using his mouth to create works of art.
Henry, who as a teenager had dreams of playing rugby for England, creates the pieces by holding an elongated pencil or paintbrush in his mouth.
Using slight movements of his head, he draws fine lines and is able to produce impressive detail.
His work has become so remarkable that he has even been commissioned to produce certain drawings, including a sketch of the Angel of the North.
His most recent piece, a pencil portrait of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, shows how precise Henry can be using just his mouth.
The drawing bears a striking likeness to the Scots chef, including his deeply furrowed brow and mop of hair.
Ramsay, who currently holds 14 Michelin stars and presents a plethora of cookery shows, shared the image to his 2.3m followers and captioned it “Brilliant”.
Earlier this month Henry also completed a painting of the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, crossing the finish line after a race.
The picture captures the athletes rippling muscles and vivid sports gear, and was also dubbed “Brilliant” by the Jamaican sprinter.
Sir Chris, who Henry calls “Britain’s greatest Olympian”, was also the subject of a painting.
The former track cyclist and Olympic gold medallist was pictured on his racing bike, complete with helmet and aerodynamic kit.
When Sir Chris saw the work, he said: “Amazing! Keep up the great work.”
Henry, who has been going from strength to strength with the help of physiotherapy and exercise programmes, explained the reasoning behind his work.
“I only started my mouth drawing and painting a few months back,” he said.
“At the beginning of the year I had a sore on my back which meant I was bed bound for a few weeks.
“I was getting rather bored and found an app on my iPad that I could use for drawing by holding a stylus in my mouth and touching the screen – I loved it.
“I recently begun drawing and painting with actual pencils and paint by attaching the utensils to a mouth piece.
“I’ve opened up a thoroughly enjoyable new chapter in my life.”
Henry was just 17 when he went on a holiday to Portugal which would change his life forever.
Five days into the trip, he ran into the sea and dived, not realising how shallow the water still was.
He banged his head on the seabed, and found himself face-down in the water, unable to move his arms or legs.
Luckily, a friend noticed he was in trouble and helped him back onto the beach, and he was rushed to hospital where X-rays showed he had badly dislocated his neck.
After weeks of excruciating pain, and a period when he contracted pneumonia, he had a successful operation where surgeons were able to screw his vertebrae back into alignment.
Now, after years of rehabilitation, he is able to move his arms slightly and has been increasing his strength using a range of exercises.
He is wheelchair-bound but travels around the country giving inspirational speeches and talks about his situation and experiences.
He has even had the chance to meet David Beckham and his “hero” Thierry Henry.