Artist donates painting to help raise money for flooding victims

A world famous artist has donated a one-off watercolour painting to help raise money for the victims of one of the worst flash floods to hit the Yorkshire Dales in living memory.

Mackenzie Thorpe produced the original piece of work for a charity auction to be held in aid of those most in need after extreme flooding damaged hundreds of homes and businesses in July.

Mr Thorpe, who has just completed a world tour, set up his first studio in Richmond, North Yorkshire, and said the area is close to his heart.

Summer weather July 31st 2019
A man drives along a flooded road near Grinton (Danny Lawson/PA)

He said: “When I heard about the terrible floods in Arkengarthdale and Swaledale, I could only think about the people of the area, going about their every day business and suddenly having to deal with the havoc and uncertainty something like this brings. It impacts everyone.

“To hear that the whole community has converged to help and support each other is nothing less than I could have expected – it is Yorkshire after all – and, so, when I was approached, I was thrilled that I could help with the fundraising.

“I know the Dales, the people, the farmers, the landscape, like the back of my hand. I’ve played with my children there and walked my dogs over hill and dale. There’s simply nowhere quite like it and so I painted a special original watercolour to help with the fundraising.”

The Army was drafted in to help with clean-up efforts after storms left scores of homes and businesses flooded and roads and bridges washed away.

Summer weather July 31st 2019
Soldiers from 2 Yorks make sandbags in Grinton (Danny Lawson/PA)

Soldiers from 2 Yorks arrived in Grinton, North Yorkshire, after parts of the region had up to 82.2mm of rain in 24 hours.

The flooding – which swept away a bridge over Cogden Beck used during the 2014 Tour de France – severely damaged more than 250 homes, around 35 farms and more than 40 other businesses.

The Arkengarthdale and Swaledale Flood Relief fundraising team is holding the auction as part of charity night at Tennants Auction House in Leyburn on October 19.

Mr Thorpe’s painting is entitled Silver Lining and depicts a shepherd with his dog, gazing over the Dales.

The artist said: “The original piece is unique, I don’t use watercolours that often, and is only available through the auction.”

Mr Thorpe presented the oak-framed picture to Swaledale-based artist Michael Bilton, whose home and studio were devastated by the flood.

Mr Bilton said: “Silver Lining is going to attract an enormous amount of interest, it’s a very generous thing for someone like Mackenzie to do.

“He’s got that love for the Dales, he’s going to feel for it, even though he wasn’t there at the time of the flood.”

For more information about Arkengarthdale and Swaledale Flood Relief fundraising event and auction, visit the Facebook page @swalearkfloodfund

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