"I won't let his death be in vain": Alison Lapper launches new art project to help young people

ITV News Meridian's Charlotte Wilkins reports.

The Sussex artist and campaigner, Alison Lapper, has launched a project that she hopes will show young people how being creative can help their mental health.

Alison lost her only son, Parys, in 2019 after an accidental drug overdose - he was just 19 years old. She hopes to raise £50,000 pounds to take 'The Drug of Art' to schools and reach young people around the country.

"We had a really lovely relationship. It was he and I against the world at times, and we were really close.  "

Alison and her son Parys.

Alison Lapper, who lives in Worthing, is a mouth and foot painter. She has always described her son,  Parys as her greatest work.

After an ongoing battle with his mental health - Parys died aged just 19 - after an accidental drug overdose.

"When he died a bit of me died with him. I know that will never come back. "

Alison says Parys didn't get the support he needed and is now launching a new project called, 'The Drug of Art'.

She hopes to show young people - through workshops and a podcast - how powerful art can be in helping to tackle mental health issues.

Alison said: "Just do something that takes you out of your head for a little bit. When I'm painting, I lose myself... all the bits and pieces, I forget about them. You're kind of in that moment."

The project is being launched in conjunction with photographer and director, Rankin and contemporary visual artist, Marc Quinn who created the famous Trafalgar Square 4 plinth sculpture of Alison when she was heavily pregnant with Parys.

Involved in the project is Marc Quinn, who created the 4th Plinth sculpture of Alison when she was heavily pregnant

Together they hope to raise £50,000 or more to reach young people across the country.

Alison says she won't let Parys' death be in vain.

Click here to find more about the project and the fundraiser