EXETER, UK – Thanks to the generosity of the people of Exeter, the Kindness Mural will now go ahead. This means the Crossline building in the city centre will be upgraded to include an inspirational Charlie Mackesy illustration on its gable wall. The mural aims to spread a message of generosity to passers-by.

A Crowdfunding campaign held from March through May raised £5,381 (+ £800 in GiftAid) with 133 supporters in 69 days. This will cover the cost of essential repairs to the wall and all surplus funds will go to charity. Recipients will include the Soup Kitchen in the basement and a gift to orphans in Africa.

Kindness Mural Build Team

Paignton-based plastering specialist Chris Harper of CH Plastering Services will repair and render the wall in August using supplies discounted for this charitable initiative from SAS Render Systems in Cheriton Bishop. Scaffolding will be left up for two weeks in order to facilitate the painting of the mural by local artist, Paul Colsell (82) who aims to complete it by early September. The paint for the project has kindly been donated by Johnsons Decorating Centre of Marsh Barton.

The mural will be the largest Charlie Mackesy illustration to date. It will feature the question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And the answer, “Kind, said the Boy.”  This comes from the best-selling book, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.  The Oscar winning artist has given permission for his artwork to be used and donated towards the project. Exeter City Council has approved this upgrade of the listed building at 5 Heavitree Road.

Artist’s impression of the proposed mural which will be painted in August 2023

The Kindness Mural management team hopes to have an official opening and invite Charlie Mackesy to visit the city for the occasion. In addition to Paul, the management team includes Gwenllian Raill, Al Gibson and Tim Davies who have come alongside him to help raise funds for the project and its charities.

The idea for the mural came from Sue Burbage who once worked in the building. Sue realised the need for the end facade to be resurfaced due to cracks and graffiti. She thought a mural would upgrade the front entrance and Paul was happy to volunteer, seeing he has painted several large-scale murals in his long career in art and design.

Kondanani UK, a local charity, has partnered with the Kindness Mural team to provide financial oversight for the project and GiftAid.

Speaking about the project at a fundraising tea, Paul Colsell said: “I never wanted to be the public face of the Kindness mural, especially since it’s not my painting. However, I was told I could be like Captain Tom who raised so much for the NHS during Lockdown. My reply is that I wouldn’t want to wait until I’m 100! I wouldn’t be able to get up the ladder.’

“We are all excited we have the funds to go ahead and are incredibly grateful to everyone who has supported this project. I hope the mural will inspire people to be kinder to each other and help to build stronger communities here in Exeter.”

Local artist Paul Colsell speaking at a fundraising tea party, sharing his vision for the Exeter Kindness Mural.


Originally from Windsor, Paul Colsell is an artist now based just off Topsham Road. He is known for his large-scale murals. Paul is passionate about using art to promote positivity and build stronger communities.  He is available for media interviews. Email him at paul@exeterkindness.co.uk. You can also speak to Al Gibson on 077 2617 5683. PHOTOS: Media may use any of the images in the gallery. Please credit Gwenllian Riall.


Exeter Kindness is a project of Kondanani UK (Charity no: 1113426) an Exeter based charity that exists to alleviate poverty in the UK and abroad. This includes persons who are in conditions of need, hardship, or who are aged or sick. Kondanani UK also supports the work of an orphanage and paediatric hospital in Africa at Kondanani Children’s Village.