Disabled artist from Hampshire says livelihoods are under threat with fall in Christmas card sales

  • Watch Christine Alsford's report on Tom Yendell here

A talented artist who uses only his mouth and feet to create his works is urging people to support disabled artists this Christmas.

Tom Yendell from Hampshire says with fewer people buying and sending festive cards nowadays the livelihoods of those that depend on that income is under threat.

Designs made by disabled artists feature on festive greetings cards every year, producing an income for the Mouth and Foot Painting Association that funds and supports its members.

"People seem to be buying less cards and I think that's a real shame but it's also a real disaster for us because this is how we make our living, " said Tom from Alton.

Nationally, the overall number of greeting cards sold in the UK in 2020 fell by around 15 per cent with many people sending things like e-cards and text messages instead.

Tom was born with no arms after his mother was given thalidomide in the 1960s when she was pregnant. He has always used his mouth, feet and chin to perform everyday tasks.

He completed an art degree in Sussex and hIs ability to create stunning artwork with his hands or his feet has enabled him to make a living with his designs also being used on wrapping paper and calendars.

For more than 40 years he's been involved with the Mouth and Foot Painting Association, a network of 800 artists around the world. With their help and support he has risen up the ranks of the organisation and is now a board member.

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He says the work they do is vital, and added: "My art has allowed me to do all the things we expect - have a mortgage, a family, holidays.

"Life is about earning a living and holding your head up high and saying I don't need to rely on charity, I'm an artist."

Along with other mouth and foot painting artists Tom's work will form part of an exhibition at the Houses of Parliament next month.

The aim is that MPs will see the work and better understand the role that the Mouth and Foot Painting Association plays in enabling people with disabilities to earn an independent living.