By Multimedia Producer Narbeh Minassian
A renowned artist is painting “national treasure” Captain Tom Moore - with a view to possibly display it in the National Portrait Gallery.
Suzi Malin, who has nine paintings in the gallery already, started on Monday and hopes to have the piece ready to present to the veteran over Skype by the end of the week.
The copyright will be donated so all proceeds can go towards funding the NHS, for which Capt Moore has raised more than £30 million.
“He’s a national treasure, he is everyone’s grandad and he’s from Yorkshire and they are such kind people,” Ms Malin told ITV News.
“He has that mettle of the British character that won the war and now he has become a figurehead in the fight against the virus.
“It felt like a privilege to paint such an amazing man.”
Painting on a valuable gold leaf she has kept for the past 30 years, Ms Malin is using a type of canvas commonly used during the Renaissance period.
Ms Malin used the leaf she still had from when she painted a portrait of Elton John.
The finished painting will be given to Captain Tom's family to decide its final home – and Ms Malin says it could well hang on the walls in the National Portrait Gallery once it reopens in three years’ time.
“I painted Captain Tom Moore on gold leaf because I believe he’s has a golden heart, which has inspired us all,” she added.
“He captured the hearts and minds of the whole nation and has inspired us all to give back to the community.”
She has left a little space on the portrait, she said, for more medals - which she hopes he is given.
Capt Moore is celebrating his 100th birthday at home with his family after his heroic fundraising efforts raised more than £32 million for the NHS.
The World War Two veteran passed the milestone figure on his birthday, after he initially set out to raise £1,000 by walking 100 laps of his garden.
Ms Malin said she hopes her portrait will do him justice and make a nice birthday present.
His fundraising efforts have since taken off and made him into a cult celebrity figure, and he has continued to walk laps of his garden and raise more money during the coronavirus pandemic.
A Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flypast of a Spitfire and a Hurricane flew over Captain Tom's home to mark his birthday, and he has been appointed as an honorary colonel of the Army Foundation College.
Chief of the General Staff General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith made the appointment, which has been approved by the Queen, in order to inspire the next generation of soldiers.