Phoenix happy to help Henshaws artistic fundraiser

Thursday, 4th October 2007

Manchester Phoenix players Nick Whyatt and Rhys McWilliams were out on Monday in support of Henshaws, the Society for the Blind, in promoting World Sight Day.

Manchester's shoppers helped young, visually-impaired local artist Monica Rapacz and Old Trafford based-charity Henshaws mark World Sight Day (October 11th) by creating the city's largest coin painting. The challenge took place in Albert Square on Monday 1st October and saw, among others, former Coronation Street and Emmerdale actor Scott Wright, the Mayor of Manchester, John Leech MP and Manchester Phoenix Ice Hockey players Nick Whyatt and Rhys McWilliams, join Monica to help create the coin painting. A total of £435.76 in coins was donated.

Rhys McWilliams commented, "it was a pleasure to be involved in such a worthwhile cause and we hope the coin painting continues to draw support." Nick Whyatt added, "Monica was really nice and on behalf of everyone at the club, we both wished her every success with her art studies."

Henshaws is a registered charity which provides practical, caring and imaginative services to blind and partially sighted individuals, their families, friends and colleagues across the north of England. Registered blind, Monica suffered a serious brain tumour at the age of eight which left her totally blind in her left eye and with limited tunnel vision in her right. A pupil at St Monica's RC High School, Monica from Blackley is a keen artist who, after completing her GCSE's next year, hopes to go on to college to study for her A-levels naturally to include art.

She was invited by Henshaws to create the design for the coin painting and decided to create something simple which clearly reflected the work of the charity. Her design was of an eye incorporating the Henshaws logo. Henshaws would like to say a big thank you to all the kind hearted Mancunians who came along on the day to help Monica create the coin painting and join them in their 170th birthday celebrations. Everyone who donated a pound was automatically entered into a prize draw with the chance to win great prizes including meals, gig tickets and tickets to see the Manchester Phoenix play.

Monica who regularly attends Henshaws Youth Club says it has made a huge difference to her confidence and helped broaden her circle of friends. "It really helps being with other teenagers who have the same sort of experiences as I do on a daily basis and can understand where I am coming from," she says.

"We were overwhelmed both by the level of interest in the coin painting and also by the generous support of all the kind hearted Mancunians who donated coins to help us make our coin painting the biggest in Manchester," said Louise Ingham of Henshaws.

Rhys McWilliams, Monica Rapacz, Scott Wright, and Nick Whyatt with the coin painting.

Rhys McWilliams, Monica Rapacz, Scott Wright, and Nick Whyatt with the coin painting

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