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New mural unveiled promoting kindness in Exeter

Exeter Kindness mural (image courtesy: Exeter Kindness)

It took 12 days to paint

The ‘Exeter Kindness Mural’ is now complete, inspiring passers-by to be kind to others. Painted by local artist, Paul Colsell it is a reproduction of a famous Charley Mackesy illustration from his best-selling book and Oscar-winning film.

The Crossline Building in Heavitree Road has been scaffolded for several months while the gable wall was renovated and painted. 82-year-old Paul Colsell started drawing the mural on Sunday 7 January and completed painting it within 12 days, despite cold weather. 

The plan was to paint the mural in the Summer, so the timing was not ideal, but it did make it possible for Paul’s son Harry, an experienced climber to join him on the scaffolding.  How does Paul feel now that the mural is finished? “Tired and cold!” he says. “We’ve been up here for 12 days. However, Harry lives in Norway so he thought it was rather warm!”

Paul’s wife Betty joined Paul on the scaffolding for the last two days, ensuring he kept safe. So, what Paul say to other octogenarians? “Keep fit and be an active part in the community,” he says, noting that he has received much support from his church.
“Some people are unkind, like the ones who knicked a tin of our paint. I do hope the mural helps people think about being kind because it’s a basic virtue. It’s also a beautiful thing that everyone responds to.”

The project has been a team effort led by Paul Colsell, Al Gibson, Gwenllian Riall and Tim Davies and paid for via Crowdfunding. £5,000 was raised last year which paid for the scaffolding, renovation, rendering, etc with the surplus going to charity. 

Exeter Kindness has also been sponsored by several local companies who have provided their services at no charge or at a reduced rate. These include: Countdown Creative, White Linen Photography, Style Bookkeeping Services, Apex Scaffolding, CH Plastering, SAS Rendering Services, BSR Decorating, Johnsons Decorating Centre and Signs Express. (See list of contractors for details.)

The mural has been four years in the making since the artist got permission from Charlie Mackesy to use the illustration and from the Exeter City Council to create the mural on a listed building.  The picture is from The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse using colouring from the film that was featured over Christmas. Paul has signed the mural with the letters, AMDG. (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam - For the greater glory of God.)

The Exeter Kindness project aims to help people in need in the city. It has been financially overseen by Kondanani UK, a registered charity and to date £1,500 has been given to charity. This includes £500 to Crossline soup kitchen in the building which supports homeless people. The public can still support the project by donating at

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