Disabled Artist Champion
2046. Thomas Yendell
Thomas Yendell, from Hampshire, has championed disabled artists for over 35 years, having been born with no arms and hands due to his mother being prescribed Thalidomide during her pregnancy, he developed a passion for art using his mouth and feet and chin.
Thomas joined the Mouth and Foot Painting Association (MFPA) in 1986 and, for 25 years, ran the MFPA Gallery in Selborne and in 2013, he was elected onto the International Board. Thomas is now a well-regarded artist and his paintings can be purchased through his website. Wanting to use his profile to support other disabled artists, Thomas worked with his fellow MFPA trust fund board members, to spearhead the ‘Unique Arts Awards’, a platform encouraging disabled students to demonstrate their artistic abilities.
Thomas also hosts free instructional art weeks for disabled children at his fully accessible holiday accommodation, ‘Flat Spaces Foundation’, which he has run since 2014. Thomas researched, designed, built and equipped a single storey holiday property in Hampshire, after realising many severely disabled people were concerned about accessibility in holiday properties. ‘Flat Spaces Foundation’ have recently acquired a plot of land that Thomas hopes to build upon in Surrey and Kent, joining with a Dutch charity to encourage visitors to the UK. Thomas is currently looking for other locations to fulfil his ambition of having at least one accessible bungalow in every county, as well as expanding overseas.
“Volunteering has made a massive impact on my life, it has enabled me to meet new fantastic people, many who have remained friends over the years, travel to amazing places around the globe, but most importantly volunteering has enabled me to give back to my community, in a positive and supportive way.”