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Tetraplegic artist sells work for £2,000 to thank spinal injuries charity

A 21-year-old man, who was left with a severe injury after a swimming accident, has raised £2,000 for charity after auctioning one of his paintings.

Former Diss High School student Sam James decided to raise money for the Rooprai Spinal Trust (RST) as a thank you for its support after he was left tetraplegic in 2017.

The life-changing neck injury he sustained after diving into a too shallow river left him paralysed and in a wheelchair.

Sam James shows off some of his paintings. Picture by Mecha Morton.
Sam James shows off some of his paintings. Picture by Mecha Morton.

“The RST has done so much to help me and my family, emotionally as well as financially,” said Sam.

“I just really wanted to do something to say thank you for everything the charity has done.”

The RST was established in 2005 by Andy Uttridge and Marrianne Rooprai to help people affected by spinal cord injuries.

“Andy and Marrianne are the most amazing people and they’ve become good friends now,” said Sam.

“It was very nice to do something for them, because they do a lot for everybody else.”

At the auction at Luton Hoo Hotel on November 23, Sam’s painting was sold for £1,000 – only for someone to place a last-minute bid saying they would match the amount if he created another artwork for them.

“To be honest, I couldn’t believe it,” said Sam. “I would’ve been happy with £200.”

The acrylic painting, which depicts a nature scene, symbolises the good and bad in everyday life.

“I have always been into art – it’s such a nice escape and gives you a sense of accomplishment when you finish something,” said Sam, who paints vehicles and landscapes.

“I don’t know who bought the painting, but I do want to find out.”

His second painting, he said, will have to wait until after Christmas, which will also give him time to think of a theme.

In the future, Sam would like to continue raising money for charities and also start selling his art privately.

“My family loves my artwork and my mum was there when the painting was being auctioned. She was very proud.”

READ MORE: Diss Express cartoonist Mike Webb to open exhibition

If you would like to commission a painting, contact Sam via email at samjam30787@gmail.com or visit his Instagram profile @sanjjames.

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