He's only eight months old but little Wilfred Johnson is showing that he’s ready to do his bit to cheer up Britain this lockdown Christmas.
The Prime Minister’s son, sporting curly blond locks and with his fingers covered in brown paint, carefully puts the finishing touches to his own hand-made painting – to send to an 89-year-old with Parkinson’s.
Dressed in a pair of red and white reindeer leggings by British brand Fred & Noah, priced £5, and a cosy grey cardigan adorned with pictures of Queen’s Guard soldiers, he places the antlers on to a picture of a reindeer.
Just a few days later, Wilfred’s card would arrive at the Hazelgrove Court care home in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire, to put a huge smile on the face of Betty Boyes.
She was delighted when she received her Christmas gift last week and said she would frame it and treasure it.
The Prime Minister’s son carefully puts the finishing touches to his own hand-made painting to send to an 89-year-old with Parkinson’s
Wilfred’s card would arrive at the Hazelgrove Court care home in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire, to put a huge smile on the face of Betty Boyes
And Wilfred’s work did not go unrewarded. As part of a charity initiative to bring together children and senior citizens, Betty created a work of art for him – a blue hand with the numbers one to ten stuck on to it.
Betty, who used to work in a shirt factory, said: ‘I can tell that the antlers are Wilfred’s hands. Do you think Boris did the reindeer’s face?’
She added: ‘I was told my handprint was going to a VIP but I didn’t know who until it arrived. I hope little Wilfred liked the shapes and bright colours on my print.’
She said she would frame Wilfred’s artwork and declared her gift so special she would ‘treasure it for the rest of her life’ and would hand it on to her niece.
Dressed in a pair of red and white reindeer leggings by British brand Fred & Noah, priced £5, and a cosy grey cardigan adorned with pictures of Queen’s Guard soldiers, he places the antlers on to a picture of a reindeer. Pictured: Wilfred with parents Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds
She was also delighted at the thought of her gift to the Prime Minister’s son hanging on the wall of No 10, joking that she wondered if Boris would send a chauffeur-driven car so she could go to see it.
She added: ‘I’ve waited all my life to be famous and, at nearly 90, I might finally make it!’
Wilfred and Betty are taking part in the Hand In Hand Together art initiative set up by The Together Project, which aims to bring different generations together to spread joy.
Betty was delighted when she received her Christmas gift last week and said she would frame it and treasure it. Pictured: Wilfred and Carrie Symonds
Along with his special gift to Betty, Wilfred shared some secrets of his day-to-day life on a special information form, telling her that he has just learned to crawl and that very recently his first two teeth came through.
What is The Together Project?
Hand in Hand Together is a novel and great way to connect different generations – and anyone can get involved.
Tots between the ages of 0 and 4 create handprint pictures along with their grown-ups, and they are then sent to older people in care homes. The older ones make their own pictures and they are exchanged.
The Together Project have a simple mission – to reduce loneliness, improve wellbeing and tackle ageism.
The form, which was filled out by his mum Carrie Symonds, reveals how his favourite song is Old MacDonald Had A Farm, his favourite food is yogurt and raspberries, and adds: ‘I love bouncing in my Jolly Jumper exerciser and going for walks in my pram. I like meeting other babies.’
Wilfred also gave a hint of just how much Dilyn, the Jack Russell dog that Boris and Miss Symonds rescued from a breeder in South Wales, has become part of the family.
The message from Wilfred said: ‘My best friend is my brother, a dog called Dilyn. He likes to lick my toes!’
The Together Project was founded by Louise Goulden in 2017 when she was on maternity leave and wanted to connect generations in her community.
It helps care home residents go into the local community to connect with people, and arranges for children up to the age of four to visit the elderly in care to chat and sing songs. But due to Covid-19 and restrictions on visitors, the charity came up with the idea of exchanging paintings.
Ms Goulden said: ‘Hand in Hand Together is creating moments of joy for children, parents and older people this winter.
‘We have seen the incredible happiness it creates and now we want to get the whole of the UK involved.’
For more information, go to thetogetherproject.co.uk.