Last night the Tuesday Media team was privileged to be guests at ‘Leonard Cheshire – A Pilot’s Story’ an exhibition of stunning aviation art at the Mall Galleries. Leonard Cheshire is the UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of services for disabled people. Their namesake was a legendary air force figure and his pioneering work for disabled people lives on through the charity.
The show, which featured specially commissioned paintings charting Leonard Cheshire’s aviation career, was timed to coincide with the RAF100 centenary celebrations which included a service in Westminster Abbey, a parade in The Mall and a spectacular flypast over Buckingham Palace.
The brainchild of aviation artist Graham Singleton, the paintings were available to view at the invitation-only event in London, before moving to the Duxford Flying Legends Air Show this weekend (14th/15 July). Singleton said, “I remember hearing the Leonard Cheshire story at primary school. It was so compelling it stayed fresh in my mind and I applied to join the RAF at 17 as a pilot.”
Leonard Cheshire was assigned to Bomber Command and became one of the RAF’s youngest commanding officers. His legendary war career included eight months leading No. 617 Squadron the Dambusters and he became the most highly decorated bomber pilot when he was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1944.
At the end of the conflict, Leonard realised that he was one of the lucky ones and was seized with a desire to make the world a better place. Many ventures failed until he received a call from a local hospital, asking if an acquaintance who was dying could come and live with him. This started a lifetime of humanitarian work with disabled people, fighting injustice and working towards a society in which everyone is equally valued.
The event last night celebrated the 70thanniversary of the Leonard Cheshire charity and was introduced by Chair, Sally Davis. The charity continues this work today by supporting individuals to live, learn and work as independently as they choose, whatever their ability.
Perhaps the most resonant were the words delivered by captivating special guest speaker RAF Air Commodore Paul O’Neill: “whilst in my view his was heroism in its purest form, I would like to suggest that his greater achievement was his ability to motivate and mobilise people towards a common goal against overwhelming odds.”
Limited edition prints will be available to buy for a selection of the paintings at the exhibitions or by order. Copies of some of the prints will be signed by Johnny Johnson, the last surviving Dambuster. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday Media was delighted to be brought on board by Leonard Cheshire to support their own national media outreach with coverage in the arts and military press. We secured support for them from the Rag Club, coverage across RAF community social media pages, in Art Rabbit directory and have more print and broadcast coverage promised. Listen out for Graham Singleton being interviewed on BFBS on Friday morning at 09.30. To talk to us about PR for your art exhibition or gallery, please contact us.
Words by Tuesday Media
Images by our amazing Creative Director, Bryce Groves