Sheffield Special Olympics GB athlete smashes fundraising target drawing football stadiums during lockdown
A young Special Olympics GB athlete from Sheffield has raised over £3,000 for charity by drawing football stadiums during lockdown.
Niall Guite, 25, from Millhouses, began creating the artwork in March as part of the 2.6 Challenge, a nationwide fundraising event launched by the organisers of the London Marathon in an effort to make up some of the money that would have been raised by runners if it had gone ahead this year.
The young artist took on the challenge on behalf of Special Olympics GB, a non-profit organisation which provides year-round sports coaching and athletic competition for people with intellectual disabilities.
Niall, who has autism and intellectual disabilities, is an athlete leader with the organisation and initially drew 26 football stadiums from across the UK in hopes of raising £260.
But, after capturing interest from across the globe, he has now raised over £3,300 from 83 felt-tip drawings and is taking commissions as he strives to reach a new target of £4,000.
His mum, Michelle, said: “He’s always done lots of drawings and used to do lots of roads and streets but he’s obsessed with football, he supports Sheffield Wednesday. He got involved with Special Olympics GB when he was around 12 or 13 and he represented Great Britain in basketball, winning a gold medal in 2015 in LA.
“Since then he’s taken up cycling with an aim of taking part in their national games and potentially be part of the world games in Berlin in 2023. He came up with the idea of drawing the football grounds, so he started drawing them on posting them on Twitter and it’s snowballed from there.”
Niall has drawn stadiums from Aberdeen to Cardiff, Wembley and everywhere in between – and is taking commissions from people across the world, reaching places such as America, Greece and Spain.
He's also branched out into rugby and finished Twickenham Stadium which England Rugby liked on Twitter and he even had a video message from Manchester City midfielder Rodrigo Hernandez Cascante, after he saw a drawing of the Etihad stadium.
Niall added: “It’s just been really amazing to see all the support I’ve received.”