Former Olympic gold medallist Denise Lewis is encouraging the nation to get behind Team GB at this summer's Tokyo Olympic Games after kick-starting a UK-wide 'art-relay'.
Lewis was in St Albans this week as she joined forces with Maple Primary School to unveil a specially-commissioned mural, the first of 10 unique walls of art that will be appearing across the country to inspire home support for Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics.
Purplebricks, the UK's leading tech-led estate agent, commissioned the wall mural in St Albans - painted by local artist Albert Clegg and co-created with a class of local school children from Maple Primary School - to support Team GB.
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"After such a crazy year, it's more important than ever to show our athletes that the whole country is behind them," said Lewis, who is working with Purplebricks to encourage the nation to get behind Team GB on their journey to Tokyo.
"I have competed in three Olympics in my time and home support has always been one of the great motivations to succeed.
"I am incredibly proud to be able to get behind Team GB this summer and what better way to show our support than with works of art, such as this one, appearing across the country?"
"I remember in my first Olympics I was very nervous. I was entering the javelin and I had had two poor throws. Just that one shout from a spectator really spurred me on and enabled me to deliver a fantastic performance on my third and final throw. The athletes will not have that.
"If you have seen the playbook recently, you will know that there will not be any cheering, it's going to be polite applause.
"That'll be very different – especially for athletes who have competed in 2012 and 2016. That's the adjustment the athletes have to make – they'll be learning and understanding as it goes on."
The Purplebricks Home Support campaign, which launched in January this year, saw three British athlete's past and present - professional boxer and Rio 2016 silver medallist Joe Joyce, former rugby player and mouth artist Henry Fraser and Vanessa Raw, former professional triathlete turned artist, as well as Scottish athlete - Leighton McIntosh - create works of art which can be seen on thousands of Purplebricks' for Sale and To Let boards on streets across the UK.
While they are also working with local artist, Albert Clegg, who was inspired by the work of 'The Torch' by former rugby player and mouth artist Fraser
Clegg said: "I think how he's overcome such adversity and how his passions have shifted from sport to creative and art is an inspiring story.
"I'm very proud. I really believe in the cultural significance of artwork and it has got an evolutionary purpose to bring us together. Today illustrates that and I'm very happy with it."
Born and raised in St Albans, Clegg also had the help of his former school, Maple Primary, with pupil's artwork providing more inspiration for the mural.
Mimi, 8, from Maple School said: "It was really exciting to see the mural and Denise today because I love art and I love running. I loved touching the gold medal!
"It was very inspiring meeting Albert. We really enjoyed doing the paintings of the Olympic torches."
Purplebricks is working with communities, athletes, and local artists to create commemorative murals for Team GB, encouraging the nation to show home support and get behind the athletes at the Tokyo Olympics. Visit @PurplebricksUK or https://www.purplebricks.co.uk/team-gb
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