Detail from An A-Z of Newcastle Cathedral

Local artists donate designs for N&N Christmas cards

Press release:


AN autistic artist from Tyneside has donated one of his works to help raise money for a leading heritage charity.

Richard Thomas’s interpretations of Newcastle Cathedral drew regionwide acclaim when they formed part of an exhibition earlier this year entitled An A-Z of Newcastle Cathedral.

Richard made a series of giclée prints, of 26 objects, documenting items unique to the cathedral as well as general religious individuals and architectural features.

And now the 28-year-old, from Jesmond, has donated his design of the building’s magnificent doorway to the Northumberland and Newcastle Society (the N&N) to feature on its official 2023 Christmas card.

His design will now be sold to help fund the N&N’s work in preserving and protecting the city and county’s heritage, landscape and culture for generations to come.

Richard, who also has moderate learning difficulties, has been drawing since childhood, but his interest and skill truly developed around five years ago when he began working from the HUB Studio, run by Arcadea CIO; a disability arts charity in Newcastle.

“Richard has a distinct graphic style,” said Katy Saunderson, Director at Arcadea, “consciously rounding sharp corners but squaring off arcs and circles and that brings an energy and a complete originality to his work.”

And Richard added, of the collaboration with the N&N:

“I am really pleased they like my work and that lots of people will now be able to see it.”

The N&N, which celebrates its centenary next year, is also showcasing the work of Brandling Park artist Pam Brown whose acrylic, Winter Birches, will feature on cards and notelets.

Depicting winter sunlight filtering through trees, Pam’s work was inspired by the silver birches at the cherry orchard at Alnwick Garden.

“I bought two birches at the orchard in memory of my late husband and stepson and every year I go to a small ceremony the Duchess holds there, so it’s a very special place for me.”

For almost a century the N&N has been quietly safeguarding the region’s heritage – stepping in to protect old buildings and rural landscapes from developers and looking at ways of ensuring both remain relevant, to be enjoyed for future generations.

To this end the charity purchased the Kielder viaduct more than 50 years ago to prevent its demolition and to save it for the nation and “these designs, in their very different ways, celebrate what is special about our city and county,” said John Matthews, Chairman of the N&N.

“I am very grateful to Richard and Pam for donating their work to us and delighted to be bringing it to a wider audience.”

The Northumberland and Newcastle Society’s Christmas cards cost from £4.99 for a pack of five, excluding postage and packaging and can be purchased online at

Detail from An A-Z of Newcastle Cathedral

[Images of the two Christmas card designs ©N&N Society]

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