Steven Gerrard praises portrait by talented blind artist Matthew Rhodes

2 May 2014 09:00

Liverpool FC and England captain, Steven Gerrard MBE, has praised a painting of himself done by blind veteran, Matthew Rhodes, who discovered a talent for art thanks to Blind Veterans UK.

Gerrard, who has played at Anfield since 1998, said that he had been "really impressed" when shown a portrait of himself created by Matthew Rhodes, a soldier who was left blind and physically disabled by a horrific motorbike accident and has since become an artist.

Steve Gerrard said: "I was really impressed with the painting and I think that Matthew did capture a good likeness of me. His talent and technique is illustrated in this piece, which I was more than happy to sign."

Father of four, Matthew, from Preston, had his life turned upside down by the accident which happened 18 years ago whilst he was serving in Germany with the 1st Battalion, The Devonshire and Dorset regiment. After spending ten weeks in a coma, Matthew awoke to find that he was blind, paralysed down his right side, had a very bad short term memory and had lost some of his ability to feel emotion.

Wiltshire-born Matthew joined Blind Veterans UK 10 months after his accident, and with extensive help and support has been able to cope with his blindness and other disabilities, as well as discover a talent for portrait painting. We have supported Matthew with his living arrangements too, both in his current location in Preston and in Peacehaven, near Blind Veterans UK's, Brighton centre for many years previously. 

Matthew says: "The moment I was registered blind, Blind Veterans UK was there for me, teaching me how to regain my confidence and independence. It was when Blind Veterans UK invited me to spend some time in the art and craft workshop at its Brighton rehabilitation and training centre that I discovered my unlikely painting talent.

"I have painted many people before and as a Red it made sense for me to paint one of its top players".

Matthew's portrait has now been signed by the England captain and will be placed at auction in aid of Blind Veterans UK in early 2015.

You can view more of Matthew's incredible art work on his blog. You can also read more about Matthew's story in his autobiography, 'Never say Die.'

To find out what Liverpool FC's have to say about the picture please visit their website. You can also find more details on this story on the Daily Mail.