Inspiring Britain: How a paralysed former rugby player turned to art

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Paul Davies

The year of 2017 has been a dark one for news – dominated by terror attacks, uncertainty in world politics and natural disasters, so ITV News has decided it is time to shine a light on some good news, telling the stories of inspirational people in communities across the country.

Becoming a successful artist, author and motivational speaker is an impressive career in its own right.

But Henry Fraser, whose debut book has today been named as WH Smith's non-fiction book of the year, is inspiring to the extreme.

Paralysed below the shoulders at the age of 17 following an accident in the sea while on holiday with his friends, Fraser was once a promising rugby player, part of Saracens' academy.

Along with months in hospital, with major operations and having to battle serious infections, he was also faced with coming to terms with his new reality.

His book details his personal story of his fight to make the most of this new reality.

To create his artwork, he uses his mouth to hold the pencil or the brush, as he cannot use his arms.

He says having the brush near eye level "does make things a bit easier", as it is easier to focus on small details and get the accuracy right.

The results are remarkable.

King of the Jungle II by Henry Fraser
A self portrait by Henry Fraser

He recently spoke at the annual conference of Sport England in Leicester, where he explained that "you have to deal with it" when you are facing bad news or difficult situations.

"Accept what is and adapt, show no matter how tough things get, we can still be positive," he said.

With a foreword by Harry Potter author JK Rowling, Fraser's book is fittingly titled 'The Little Big Things: A young man's belief that every day can be a good day'.

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