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ARTIST'S HIGH HOPES; Painting expected to fetch huge sum for charity.

Byline: SOPHIE BARLEY

A PAINTING by Middlesbrough-born artist Mackenzie Thorpe will be auctioned at a prestigious sports event to raise money for a children's sports charity.

The artwork, titled At The Crease, will be auctioned at the England Captains' Dinner at Mansion House, London, which will be attended by sportsmen like Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Rio Ferdinand and Andrew Strauss.

The painting is the number one edition in the collection and is expected to attract a huge sum.

Mackenzie, 54, a world-renowned artist who grew up in Beechwood, Middlesbrough, said his home town is the inspiration for the artwork.

The painting shows a young boy stepping up to the crease to bowl.

Mackenzie said: "Firstly the painting has nothing to do with cricket. The painting helps portray my favourite metaphor - 'It's not where you live it's how you live'."

Mackenzie said the thought for the painting came to him while hearing about the claims of corruption in international cricket.

He said: "It really annoyed me. I just thought: 'they are playing on the best stage possible and still cheat'.

"It made me think of when I was a lad and playing cricket in the street in Middlesbrough.

"We would draw stumps on the wall and draw a line using chalk.

"We played with passion and even though we were playing in the streets of Middlesbrough, we still didn't cheat, proving it's not where you play it's how you play.

"The boy in the picture is the image of me. Wearing my only socks and my only pair of shorts. The ball is red, which symbolises a heart - and the passion.

"The lad is walking up to the line to take his bowl. He only has one chance and that is it. That is a message we should be teaching to the younger generation - you only get one chance, so do it right."

Mackenzie hopes the painting raises a good sum at the dinner which is on Wednesday.

All proceeds will go to Cricket for Change, a charity which uses cricket to transform the lives of children.

Mackenzie said: "The charity is fantastic. I do a lot of work with children so I was pleased when I found out where the money raised would be going.

"I think a lot of the sports stars will be able to relate to the painting."

CAPTION(S):

AUCTION: Mackenzie Thorpe and his painting
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 11, 2011
Words:398
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