A former beneficiary of national charity, Caudwell Children, joined a host of celebrities, business leaders and philanthropists on the red carpet of a high-profile charity fundraiser in London last week and helped raise a staggering £20,000 by auctioning a unique piece of art created to commemorate the charity’s 21st anniversary.

James Owen Thomas, also known as J.O.T, – who grew up in Eastbourne – was commissioned to produce an ambitious new work that depicts the 20-year history of UK children’s charity, Caudwell Children. The artwork comprises of twenty separate canvases featuring sustainable materials that form into a cherry tree to represent hope and a positive future for disabled children.

Each canvas was intricately created using recycled charity leaflets, tickets, brochures and other re-used materials. The concept of a tree was implemented to portray the roots as origins of the charity and disability and the top of the tree as how the charity has grown.

The impressive artwork formed part of a fundraising auction, led by Bargain Hunt’s Charlie Ross, which also included lots from fellow artists, including highly sought after works from Nat Bowen, David Yarrow and Genesis The Grey Kid.

Each canvas was sold for £1000 to generous donors in the audience, totalling £20,000 in donations for the charity. The piece will now be displayed at the Caudwell International Children’s Centre in Staffordshire, with a grand unveiling planned for next year.

J.O.T said:

“Caudwell Children commissioning my art along with being photographed on the red carpet must be one of the most memorable evenings of my life. I was an early beneficiary of the charity around 15 years ago so, it’s an incredible feeling to be able to give back to Caudwell Children.

“Nature and the environment have always played an important part in my life and has inspired my own form of art. I want this piece of artwork to spread a message to people of the need to protect our environment for a better future.

“I am so pleased that my art raised so much money for an incredible cause and grateful that I got this experience.”

Caudwell Children CEO, Trudi Beswick, said:

“It has been a pleasure to welcome James to the Butterfly Ball. As a charity we supported James when he was younger and we are incredibly grateful that he was able to raise money for the charity from his amazing artwork.

“The £20,000 that he was able to auction his art for on the night will make a massive difference to disabled children lives.

“I am also delighted to hear about James being selected as one of the COP26 One Step Greener ambassadors. We are so proud of him.”

The annual Butterfly Ball raised over £1.5million which will help the charity continue to support even more disabled children through their practical and emotional support services. Find out more about J.O.T: https://www.jamesowenthomas.com/ Find out more about Caudwell Children: www.caudwellchildren.com