Charlie Welman with her painting outisde Cowes High School. Picture by Laura Holme.
A PAINTING in memory of Damien Nettles, made up of details from the investigation into his disappearance, has been unveiled by a Cowes High School student.
Sixteen-year-old Charlie Welman’s portrait of Damien was described by Damien’s mother, Valerie, as "really extraordinary". Last year, Charlie became involved in a T-shirt campaign with the YMCA to raise awareness of Damien’s case.
This year, when asked to produce an artwork as part of her A-level course, based on memory and the transition from Cowes High School to the new school, she chose to focus on former Cowes High student Damien. The result has been a striking portrait based on a photograph featured in the missing persons campaign for Damien, who is now thought to have been murdered.
When viewers look closely, they can see crucial pieces of information, such as dates and places, relating to Damien’s case, make up the image.
"Damien used to go to Cowes High and with the school closing I didn’t want that to be forgotten," said Charlie.
"The school said no. But the YMCA put me in touch with Val and we got talking about Damien and she was happy for me to go ahead.
"About five weeks later I was able to send her a photo of the finished picture and her reaction was brilliant," said Charlie, who hopes the painting can be displayed in the new school.
Mrs Nettles described the piece as stunning and said: "I was surprised, delighted and touched she would want to do a picture for Damien and I left it to her which picture she would choose and how she would use it.
"It was poignant someone from his old school, and mine, wanted to do something to remember him and it’s comforting to know Damien is still thought about and by someone so young, who was just a baby when he went missing."