Andy Murray latest subject of mouth painter

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ANDY Murray has received a pledge of support from an unlikely source – a paralysed ex-rugby player who drew the tennis champion using just his mouth.

Henry Fraser, 23, from Chipperfield in Hertfordshire, was paralysed from the shoulders 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 Fraser draws using only his mouth
Henry Fraser draws using only his mouth

 

His pieces have been shared by the likes of Usain Bolt, Gordon Ramsay and Sir Chris Hoy, who have said his work is “brilliant”.

And now he has created a stunning portrait of Scots tennis star Andy Murray, who is currently competing at Wimbledon.

The pencil drawing shows Murray screaming during a match, and was retweeted by the athlete to his 3m Twitter fans.

Gabby Logan, British presenter and former Wales international gymnast, announced that Henry was “incredible” when she saw the picture.

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.

The finished portrait of Murray
The finished portrait of Murray

 

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.

Another recent piece, a pencil portrait of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, shows how precise he 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 boasts 15 Michelin stars and presents a plethora of cookery shows, shared the image to his 2.3m followers and captioned it “Brilliant”.

Last month (June) 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.

Henry with his hero Thierry Henry
Henry with his hero Thierry Henry

 

Sir Hoy, 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 Hoy 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 life-changing holiday to Portugal with his friends.

Five days into the trip, he ran into the sea and dived, not realising how shallow the water 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.

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