St Neots deafblind teenager’s art exhibited in Bristol show

A TEENAGER who is deaf and has poor vision has achieved something most budding artists can only hope for ... William McGregor has had his work included in a major exhibition.

The 19-year-old from St Neots had his art included as part of a display for International Deafblind Awareness Week (June 25-July 1).

Sense, the deaf-blind charity, has been holding the event in Bristol.

William was born with Angelman Syndrome, which means he has a number of disabilities – he cannot hear or speak and has limited vision. He also has poor balance and epilepsy and needs help walking.

His mother Louisa said: “He’s painted since he was two and a half, but it was not until Easter that he started painting on large canvasses. For William it’s all about the multi-sensory experience – he loves to get messy.

“As he has limited vision, he relies a lot on touch to express himself and he feels the vibrations of the canvas when he pushes against it. When he paints it’s about 30 minutes of painting ... and about two hours of cleaning up afterwards.”

William, of Laxton Close, Eaton Ford, uses gestures and eye pointing to communicate.

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He makes choices using photographs and, when given the option, his favoured hobby is painting.

Mrs McGregor said: “Because of his sight, he likes the brighter colours, and I choose the tones so that it’s good to look at.

“It works well with larger canvasses as he can stretch his arms, and he’s more interested in it as he can hide behind it, and play with it as well.

“Part of the syndrome means that he is quite smiley and happy, which is what he is all about. He likes people very much and cuddles and likes to communicate. I think that comes through in his paintings as well.

“I know I’m his mother and am going to like it, but it’s really touching when people either say that I did it, or that they can see whoever painted the art was really enjoying making it.”

Next month, William will leave Samuel Pepys School, St Neots, and will start Orchard Manor, Meldreth, in September, where he will be able to continue to create his art.