Artist has painting signed by Red Arrows to be raffled for new charity

The prints are the first items to be signed by the 2013 team and will be raffled off as part of a new charity venture.

A FORMER soldier who discovered a talent for painting aircraft will be raffling off a print of The Red Arrows hawk aircraft signed by the 2013 team for charity.

Tony Byrne, from Bideford, visited the team at RAF Scampton last week where his work became the first piece to be signed by next year’s team.

He will be raffling off one of the prints as part of the launch of a new charity venture in Barnstaple.

The 51-year-old turned to painting through the charity Combat Stress, after a 13 year career in the army saw him diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

He hopes the new charity he is setting up, called Gifted, will help support smaller charities and forces charities as well as local artists.

“The idea is we will use the sale of art to create a fund whereby if a charity needs funding for a certain project, we can help,” said Mr Byrne.

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“We also hope to be able to provide facilities through the community for aspiring artists and maybe look at providing art therapy.”

Mr Byrne has only been painting aircraft for two years but has already had a painting of the RAF Sea King auctioned off for charity at �1,000.

He paints all the works from photographs, and describes his work as ‘photorealism’.

He said: “I’ve no formal training at all and haven’t done any painting since I was at school.

“It is a real labour of love; this painting of the hawks took me around six months to complete.”

The painting will be available for the public to view at The White House in Mermaid Walk, Barnstaple, with details on obtaining raffle tickets.

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