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The council cartoonist making his mark in the sport of kings

Cartoonist Darenn Bird has become a firm favourite in the horse-racing industry. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Darren Bird is a graphics designer for the council but he leads a double life as a favourite cartoonist to the horse racing industry.

It started off as a hobby seven years ago but and now Darren is living the dream.

His love of horse racing epitomised by his colourful, quirky cartoons.

Big names in the sport, be it man, woman, or beast, caricatured in his own unique style.

Darren captures many famous faces in his colourful cartoons. Credit: Darren Bird

Darren from Ipswich works for Babergh and Mid Suffolk Councils.

His sideline craft emerged after watching racing and sending a single tweet to his five followers.

Seven years later and 14,000 more Twitter followers, Darren, better known as Birdie, has become a popular racing attraction.

His talents often requested during visits to racecourses and he even has a mural at Brighton.

  • Click to watch a report about Darren Bird by ITV News Anglia Sport Correspondent Donovan Blake

"It's always been about the horses.

"A lot of my cartoons you see there's a toothy grin on the smiles of the horses. And that's purely the enjoyment I get from capturing them.

"The thing with social media is you have an audience, a hidden audience but the racing community have been absolutely fantastic, and have embraced my cartoons and my artwork much beyond I'd ever imagined."

– Darren Bird
The US President's recent visit inspired this sketch of the Irish hurdler Getaway Trump. Credit: Darren Bird

His work has led to a partnership with trainer Henry Spiller and wife Niamh to set up the Birdie Racing Club.

Three of their string at Newmarket's Sackville House stables are in joint ownership, including Sepahai which recently ran third at Thirsk.

And membership is growing; they are hoping that we'll have twenty members by the end of this year and double that again next year.

Darren Bird is hoping his hobby could become full-time so he can spend more time with the horses. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Darren is hoping that what started as a hobby could become bigger still.

He said: "There'd be no point spending the amount of time that I've done over the last seven years.

"I have to say thank you to my family for putting up with me and my crazy hours watching races all round the world.

"I think it would be lovely to make it the full time role, and allow me to see my horses more too."