A FORMER Bradford College student has received a letter from the Prime Minister after his unique artwork raised £20,000 at a charity ball.

James Owen Thomas, whose work makes use of discarded materials such as scratchcards, received the letter from Boris Johnson who says he is 'impressed with the money your artwork has raised at the Butterfly Ball for Caudwell Children, a truly deserving charity.

A former beneficiary of the national charity, James, who is autistic, joined a host of celebrities, business leaders and philanthropists at the fundraiser in London in November and raised a staggering £20,000 by auctioning a unique piece of art created to commemorate the charity’s 21st anniversary.

The artwork comprised 20 canvases featuring sustainable materials that form into a cherry tree to represent hope and a positive future for disabled children. Each canvas was carefully created using recycled charity leaflets, tickets, brochures and other re-used materials. They sold each sold for £1000 to generous donors in the audience. The piece will be displayed at the Caudwell International Children’s Centre in Staffordshire.

James met Boris Johnson last year in his capacity as one of a number of COP 26 One Step Greener Ambassadors chosen from across the UK. On his visit he left one of his artworks at 10 Downing Street. The letter also thanks him for visiting and for leaving a piece of ‘thought-provoking artwork'.

James was thrilled to receive the letter. “Receiving a letter last week out of the blue from the Prime Minister was a great surprise. I was so excited to be invited to Downing Street on becoming a COP26 One Step Greener Ambassador. Now to have a letter recognising my environmental art means so much to me.”

James hopes to be involved with the Caudwell Charity again this year, along with a number of other charities.

“People have been approaching me to do talks for them at schools, art clubs and recently Henshaws in Knaresborough asked if I would like to get involved helping people with disabilities by offering workshops.

“I think this is the best thing really about my art that by doing events and fundraising for charities, it also helps my own condition and self-esteem as I can get quite low at times, and it got worse since the time of the first lockdown.”

A lifelong lover of nature James is also an ambassador the Tree Council’s Force for Nature campaign and is also working through the next steps of the Together for our Planet/One Step Greener campaign and the strategy for 2022.

“ It’s all about sharing what steps we are taking to go One Step Greener in 2022 so my main involvement is continuing to use the recycled materials for my artwork and being involved with charitable organisations for fundraising.”