Quirky pet portraits raise almost £100,000 for homeless charity

  • Video report by ITV News Meridian's Malcolm Shaw

Phil Heckels rather harshly describes his artwork as rubbish.  But his tongue-in-check sketches of pets of all shapes and sizes have delighted their owners. 

It all started when he sketched the family dog to amuse his son, and posted the picture online as a joke. 

But Phil now has a waiting list of 10,000 people wanting his portraits.

  • Phil Heckels

Phil says: "I guess there just hasn't been a lot to smile about, I think i've been doing this for the last ten months and there hasn't been a lot to smile about in the last 10 months".

"So I guess this has just brought a little bit of humour into people's social media world".

Now, Phil has his own exhibition at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery until the end of August. 

With 100,000 followers on social media worldwide, it's clear he's hit on a winning formula.  

By selling his portraits, Phil has raised more than eighty-six thousand pounds for the homeless charity Turning Tides, and money for another good cause too.

Phil says: "A couple of months ago we were contacted by a second charity called Street Vet and they provide free veterinary car for homeless men and women's animals".

"And I kind of just felt there was a nice synergy with the fundraising I was doing for Turning Tides coupled with the fact I'm drawing these animals".

  • Vicki Wells, Worthing Theatres & Museum

Vicki Wells, from Worthing Theatres & Museum, says: "Any pet owner knows that their pet means the world to them. Whether you're a cat person, a dog person or a tarantula person".

Phil has no training in art.  His real job is as a commercial estate agent.  But for now, he's going with the flow, and producing hundreds of his charming pet portaits.