One of Britain’s most notorious prisoners has been creating artwork from his cell in aid of a Wearside woman battling serious illness.
Mature student Andy Parkin, of Seaburn, is doing his university dissertation on Charles Bronson, now known as Charles Salvador, who has been behind bars for more than 40 years after being jailed for violence and planning a robbery.
He has been in contact with Bronson, who has often sent him letters and drawings he has done.
Sunderland University student Andy was recently approached by couple Vic and Val Venner, with Val, 54, battling breast cancer for the past three years, who were hoping to contact Bronson.
Charles has now passed on two signed “Salvador Specials” in tribute to the pair through Andy.
Andy, 56, said: “Vic and Val said they wanted to get in touch with Charlie after they heard I’d been in contact with him.
“I spoke to Charlie’s girlfriend and amazingly, he’s sent over two drawings addressed to them.
“He gets thousands of letters in the post each week so for him to do this is great.”
Vic, 56, of Ford Estate, said: “We’re over the moon with what Charlie has done, it’s crazy to think that he’s done this art for me and my wife.
“It’s very rare for him to do what he has done and we really appreciated him taking the time to create these.
“It’s been one of Val’s wishes since she became ill and he’s made it come true.”
Andy suffers from the condition bi-polar and says that creating art helps him to cope with the stresses of the illness.
“When I got bipolar, I realised that he started doing art in prison in later life.
“It’s therapy for me to get through things. Charlie has really encouraged me as well.
“You hear things about Charlie, but people maybe don’t realise he also does a lot for charity.
“He’s helped raise money for Bradley Lowery and food banks too.
“Everyone deserves a second chance in my eyes and he’s been in prison for 43 years now, which is enough for what he’s done in my opinion.”
Bronson’s life was brought to the big screen in a 2008 biopic which starred Tom Hardy.