Express & Star

Mural dedicated to life-saving charity unveiled at Penkridge pub

A colourful mural depicting a Midlands Air Ambulance helicopter has taken pride of place on the wall of a Staffordshire pub.

The completed mural pictured at The Star in Penkridge

The artwork, which can be seen at The Star in Penkridge, has been painted in an effort to raise awareness for the life-saving charity.

The pub has featured two other thought-provoking murals on its wall in recent years, including one of an NHS nurse to mark the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest addition features a Midlands Air Ambulance helicopter flying in a brightly coloured sky, with red poppies littered in the grass below.

Artist Ellie Johnson pictured with critical care paramedic, Alistair Mcneil

Mural artist Ellie Johnson, who is known to many as "Mrs Murals", grew up in Penkridge and said that it was nice to "leave her mark" in the village.

The 37-year-old added: "It was a good one to get involved in, I was keen to raise awareness and hopefully help them raise money for such a good and well deserving charity.

"I try to create designs that are pleasing to the eye, raise spirits and make you feel happy but, at the same time, something that is eye catching.

The completed mural pictured at The Star in Penkridge

"It's on quite a main road and there are two roads next to the pub so you can really see it from quite a distance.

"The fact that it raises awareness and gets people to look and think about it is what the aim of the project is – it was nice to go and see my family and leave a mark in Penkridge."

The mural, which measures around 6ft tall, was completed on Monday after more than two days of hard work.

Local DJ and Midlands Air Ambulance volunteer, Tim Rowlands, joined forces with pub landlady Alison Heath to come up with the idea, with hopes of raising awareness for the charity.

Tim Rowlands, who is from Penkridge, added: "I've been volunteering with Midlands Air Ambulance for just over 10 years now, so with the help of Ally, the landlady, we asked Ellie Johnson to do this mural.

"It's fantastic, because of the location of the wall it's right on the main road – it's definitely brightened the place up.

"Me and Ally wanted to raise much needed awareness and hopefully much needed funds for the charity, so it was definitely something we wanted to do.

"It is really important that we keep supporting (the charity). It isn't government funded, it relies solely from donations from the public and businesses so it's really important and that's why it's close to my heart."

Alison Heath, who has been based at the pub for over six years, said the mural has already proven popular with pub-goers.

She added: "Over the last few years of running pubs I have witnesses a couple of times where the air ambulances have landed in pubs for customers so it's close to me for that reason. It saves millions of lives so it's something that needs to be seen.

"When it was nearly completed on Sunday, we did have the critical care car come and have some photos taken, and we had lots of people stand and have 'selfies' with it – it's been quite immense how many people have spoken about it.

"I've been keeping it a secret for over six months what we are going to choose to do and when I contacted Mrs Murals and she sent a picture of what she thought it would look like on the wall, it blew me away."

Donation pots will be placed around the pub to raise funds for the charity, with people also able to donate by visiting the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity website.