At school in Sutton Coldfield, Graham Hendley excelled at practical subjects, being offered an apprenticeship as a carpenter, but Graham’s first love was farming and, against his parents wishes, he started work on a small local farm where he had worked during school holidays. He then moved to a large arable farm and appeased his parents by enrolling at Agricultural College to gain recognised qualifications. He describes this period as the best time of his life - being part of a great team, all working together to beat the weather and bring in the harvest.
However, on the way to pick up his girlfriend one evening a car pulled in front of Graham’s motorbike. He suffered a broken neck and spent the next 14 months rehabilitating in Oswestry Spinal Unit, far away from family and friends, until moving back home to his parents.
Graham suffered from great frustration at his lack of activity - he remembers that there was none of the technology we now take for granted which has opened up great opportunities for disabled people. Ill health and tremendous guilt at the burden placed on his parents eventually led Graham to move to Greenacres Cheshire Home where mouth artist John Bunce persuaded Graham to try painting, transforming his life. Graham was accepted as a Student Artist with the MFPA and is proud to have had his work exhibited nationwide. His favourite painting to date naturally reflects his great love, being titled ‘Harvest in Norfolk’.