'˜Viral' drawings by budding artist raise hundreds for Down Syndrome group

It's been just over a month since Karl Williamson, who has Down Syndrome, began drawing pictures to raise funds for a charity close to his heart.

Wednesday, 14th November 2018, 5:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th November 2018, 11:19 am
Karl Williamson with sculptor Ray Lonsdale

What started as drawings for volunteers and members of Down Syndrome North East Group for a couple of pound has snowballed into a requested drawing by Tommy sculptor Ray Lonsdale for £50.

Hard at work, the 27-year-old has drawn more than 25 pictures and has already raised £520 for Downs Syndrome North East Group.

Karl presenting the drawing to Phil Oldroy, managing director of A690 Specialist Cars

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He’s been drawing pictures of North East landmarks including the Angel of the North, Sunderland AFC’s emblem and Seaham’s Tommy.

Karl’s mum, Alison Williamson, said: “I don’t think he realises how big it’s actually got.

“He just keeps asking me how much we’ve raised now.

“We’re just so overwhelmed, what started with a few donations from friends and family has just snowballed - it’s gone viral.”

Karl Williamson with a picture of Tommy for a National Holiday's driver

Karl, who lives with his parents Alison and Iain in Northlea, Seaham, was also born with a heart defect and needed open heart surgery when he was just three months old.

During his first few years he endured ear problems as well as suffering with hidradenitis suppurativa, a skin condition which he now has for life.

Alison, 49, who works as an operation supervisor for National Holidays, added: “Karl has faced many challenges but brought so much happiness and love along the way.

“Around six years ago we found out through another parent about the Downs Syndrome North East Group and have been members ever since.

Karl Williamson meeting Ray Lonsdale

“This group has been a godsend and given us so much support.

“We don’t think Karl realises just how far his artwork has travelled but we are so proud of him.

“Karl’s artwork has gone viral and reached most of the country.”

He has created artwork for buyers as far away as Gretna in Scotland and one of his drawings has now reached Spain.

Dad Iain Williamson, of Addicted to Ink in Seaham, has had customers asking for drawings.

A690 Specialist Cars, where Karl’s brother Lewis works, also donated £50 for a piece of art.