EVERTON defender Leighton Baines has been signed up in Wirral.
Art gallery Madelainartz, in Liscard, was thrilled when the Blues player signed an original portrait of himself.
The artwork was created by Madelaina Murthwaite, founder of the charity which raises awareness of the chronic pain syndrome Fibromyalgia.
The former English teacher from West Kirby Grammar School was diagnosed with the debilitating condition in 2007. As a result, she had to give up her teaching job.
She went on to set up the charity Madelainartz, with the support of volunteers and trustees to help sufferers of Fibromyalgia on Merseyside through the arts.
Leighton is the 17th celebrity to sign their portrait by Madelaina.
Other celebrities in the collection include Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, John Bishop, Ken Dodd, Ricky Tomlinson, Ronan Keating, and Steve McQueen – signed by his widow, Barbara.
The portraits were created in a selection of media such as charcoal and acrylic. Madelaina said: “I was invited to meet Leighton at Finch Farm.
“He was really lovely. It was a pleasure to meet him.I pride myself on the authenticity of the signatures and meet the celebrities to take photographs of the signing.
“I won't deny I get really nervous just at the point before the celebrity sees my interpretation of them.
“There's always a fear that one day one of them will not like what I have created.
“So far, that hasn't happened. In fact, Jamie Carragher offered to buy the one I created of him as soon as he saw it. Flattered as I was, I really wanted the work to be appreciated by a fan.”
In 2011 Madelainartz piloted a project offering free creative workshops in Liverpool, where Fibromyalgics and chronic pain sufferers learnt how to manage pain, get relaxation therapy and promote their self esteem.
The charity is planning to bring the scheme to Wirral. If anybody is interested in benefiting from the project, call Madelainartz on 07902697816, email thegallery@ madelainartz.com, or call in at the gallery in Cherry Tree shopping centre.