Young Sunderland coronavrius fundraiser to be part of new book on his obsession

A young aviation fanatic who raised hundreds of pounds for the NHS after being inspired by Captain Tom Moore is hoping to help even more good causes with a new book.

Friday, 7th August 2020, 5:32 pm
Autistic youngster Jack Berry, 13 gets a special tour of the North East Land, Sea and Air Museums as their first customer back, with Maisie Jones, 8

And now he is turning to his next project – a book on planes and other aircraft, with profits set to support armed forces veterans.

The 13-year-old became involved with the project after catching the attention of Simon Heporth, who runs Bomber Command Books, a micropublisher specialising in aviation history, on social media.

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Hepburn said: “Jack has been producing pictures of aircraft and publishing them on Twitter and sending them to various aviation personalities.

“Jack has special needs, he is autistic, but this is a way he finds easy to express himself and communicate, which I think is wonderful.

“The pictures are colourful if simplistic, but art is art and that is the artist’s way of conveying a message and that applies as much to Jack as it does to Rubens and Rembrandt and the rest.”

Jack, from South Hylton and who goes to Sunderland’s Barbara Priestman Academy, is currently working on his pictures of various famous aircraft.

It is hoped former pilots, navigators and others will also contribute to the finished work, recounting their experiences of flying or working with the machines.

Veterans of the Second World War and the first Gulf War have already been spoken to about taking part.

And Hepburn has even predicted the final version of the book could be ready for printing in time for Christmas.

“It’s really bringing people together,” said Jack’s mum Sara.

“Different people are all following what Jack’s doing on Twitter and understand that he has autism and communicates through his pictures.

“It gives some hope – everything is about COVID now but this helps with our mental health, it’s a very positive feeling when we see the responses he gets.”

The current project is not Jack’s first brush with the world of aviation literature – in June historian Rowland White sent a signed copy of his book ‘Cleared for Take Off’ to WW2 enthusiast Jack in recognition of his work fundraising for the NHS and South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Trust.

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