How ‘The Armley Artist’ has raised thousands for MND after being inspired by hero Rob Burrow

Brent Sheldon pictured at the Horsforth Walk of Art

By John Baron

An Armley technician who paints pictures in his spare time has helped raise more than £24,500 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

By day Brent Sheldon is a design technician at Co-op Academy Priesthorpe in Pudsey, but on an evening can be found painting under the guise as ‘The Armley Artist’.

Brent has been raising money to tackle MND after being inspired by his Leeds Rhinos rugby league hero Rob Burrow, who was diagnosed the condition in December 2019.

The lifelong Rhinos fan has since auctioned off many of his artworks via his Twitter page and auctioned some of at charity events – raising thousands of pounds for charity.

Brent said:

“The very first painting I did was the image of Rob scoring his most famous try for Leeds in the Grand Final 2011 – when I posted it on social media it literally went viral and the response was incredible. Things went crazy after that. I got messages from Rob himself and even did an interview with BBC Leeds. I auctioned the painting off via Twitter as we were then in the original lockdowns! 

“So following the success of the first painting and due to the fact that I was working from home as school was closed, I decided to paint some more artworks and did the image of Rob in his last-ever game and Rob and Danny McGuire together. 

“I met Rob and his family while I was painting a mural of him at New College in Pontefract, they came to see the paintings and he was able to sign all these first three paintings, so that was really special. We managed to raise £1,800 from these first three paintings by auctioning on Twitter.”

More recently Brent has painted three artworks to sell at special charity auctions which ‘have been amazing!’ Brent added:

“I painted two artworks that we managed to put into the Burrow Strictly Ball auction that was organised by Rob’s sisters. The first was the one of Kevin Sinfield running his ‘seven in seven’ marathon challenge and this sold at the auction for £4,000! Kevin even got up on the mic to do the auction! 

“The second one was the image of Kevin and Rob embracing at Rob’s final game and is a real iconic image – this painting sold at the auction for an incredible £10,000! A real ‘wow’ moment and the highlight of the auction!”

Brent’s most recent painting a special MND fundraiser event at Leigh. He added it was always humbling to meet other people who were also fundraising and trying to do their bit to raise the profile of MND. He said:

“I decided that I would do a special painting that we could auction off at the event, this was the iconic special moment when Rob and Kevin smiled at each other after Kevin had completed his extra mile challenge. I titled it ‘The Extra Smile’ – this sold at the auction for £7,777 It was bought by Derek Beaumont, the owner of Leigh Centurions, and the artwork will stay at the club for good.

“It’s been an amazing journey and I’ve met some really great people, I never thought it would be so well received and the positivity in doing something that can make a real difference is so heartwarming and enriching. It’s great that I can use my art to help make a difference.

“As things stand currently from all the paintings that have been auctioned and the prints sold we have managed to raise approx £24,500 which is incredible.”

Brent also sells prints at community fairs and his ebay page to raise more funds for MNDA.

“I don’t do this for recognition,” he added. “I just hope the money I’m raising makes a difference and that I’m doing my little bit to help raise the profile of MND.”

Check out his Linktree to see his social media and ebay pages.

MND support and guidance

For people living with or who have just been diagnosed with MND, there are a number of ways to get help and support.

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