EXETER, UK – The ‘Exeter Kindness Mural’ is now complete, inspiring passers-by to be kind to others. Painted by local artist, Paul Colsell, it is a reproduction of a famous Charley Mackesy illustration from his best-selling book and Oscar-winning film.
The Crossline Building in Heavitree Road has been scaffolded for several months while the gable wall was renovated and painted. Paul (82) started drawing the mural on 7th January and completed painting it within 12 days, despite cold weather. Apex are set to remove the scaffolding at 8am on Friday 19th January, 2024.
The plan was to paint the mural in the Summer however it was completed in winter. The timing was not ideal but did make it possible for his son Harry, an experienced climber to join him up on the scaffolding. How does Paul feel now that the mural is finished? “Tired and cold!” he says. “We’ve been up here for 12 days. However, Harry lives in Norway so he thought it was rather warm!”
Paul’s wife Betty joined Paul on the scaffolding for the last two days, ensuring he kept safe. So what Paul say to other octogenarians? “Keep fit and be an active part in the community,” he says, noting that he has received much support from his church.
“Some people are unkind, like the ones who knicked a tin of our paint. We hope the mural helps people think about being kind because it’s a very basic virtue. And it’s a beautiful thing. I mean, everyone responds to it.”
About the Exeter Kindness project
The project has been a team effort led by Paul Colsell, Al Gibson, Gwenllian Riall and Tim Davies and paid for via Crowdfunding. Thanks to the generosity of the local community £5,000 was raised last year which paid for the scaffolding, renovation, rendering, etc with the surplus going to charity.
Exeter Kindness has also been sponsored by several local companies who have provided their services at no charge or at a reduced rate. These include Countdown Creative, White Linen Photography, Style Bookkeeping Services, Apex Scaffolding, CH Plastering, SAS Rendering Services, BSR Decorating, Johnsons Decorating Centre and Signs Express. (See list of contractors for details.)
The Exeter Kindness mural has been four years in the making since Paul got permission from Charlie Mackesy to use the illustration and from the Exeter City Council to create the mural on a listed building. The picture is from The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse using colouring from the film that was featured on BBC1 over Christmas. Paul has signed the mural with the letters, AMDG. (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam – For the greater glory of God.)
Celebrating Acts of Kindness
The Exeter Kindness project aims to help people in need in the city. It has been overseen by Kondanani UK, a registered charity and to date £1,500 has been given to charity. This includes £500 to Crossline soup kitchen in the building which supports homeless people. The public can still support the project by donating at exeterkindness.co.uk.
“We’re hoping the mural will initiate many acts of kindness,” said Al Gibson, chair of Kondanani UK. “It has captured the imagination of the local community on social media and we invite people to do three things. Firstly, to take a selfie with the mural; secondly to make a donation; and thirdly to post this on Facebook using the hashtags #bekind and #ExeterKindness
ABOUT PAUL COLSELL:
Paul Colsell (82) is an artist from Windsor who is known for his large-scale murals. He and his American wife, Betty live in Exeter. Paul is passionate about using art to promote positivity and build stronger communities. He is part of a local Christians Against Poverty (CAP) group and attends Exeter Network Church.
Paul is available for media interviews. Call him on 077 5261 8873 or speak to Al Gibson on 077 2617 5683. Media may use any of the images in our gallery or on our social media. Please attribute Gwenllian Riall. SEE LATEST IMAGES
ABOUT EXETER KINDNESS
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.