When eleven-year-old Leon made the above painting, he could not have imagined that it would be admired by people all over the world in no time. The child made the painting, that the forest fires that are currently raging near Nelson on the New Zealand South Island, as a tribute to everyone who helps to fight the fire.

The image was initially shared on a local Facebook page, after which it quickly went viral and was shared more than two thousand times. Leon’s mother, Cheree Fenemor, says that the family is “surprised” about their son’s sudden internet turmoil. “He is also very surprised and proud too, but he remains sober,” she says.

The boy has had to turn down a bid on his artwork several times because he wants to keep it himself. Mother Cheree is now investigating whether she can have prints made of the painting so that interested people can still buy their own copy of the artwork.

Crazy about aviation

The proceeds from the prints will be used to help the victims of the forest fires. “We find it horrible for anyone who has lost something in the forest fires,” says Cheree, who, together with her son, has already supplied the crews that fight the fire several times. “Leon is crazy about aviation and we spent a lot of time at the airport during the past few days,” she says. “On Sunday afternoon he also saw the scene that he painted later. He saw the helicopters land, went home and was finished with his painting a few hours later.”

Cheering: A painting that boy (11) makes of forest fires in Nelson goes viral

The firefighters in Nelson themselves are also impressed by the painting, which they want to hang in their office – just like fire brigades all over the world. They will, however, have to do with a print, just like the other interested parties.

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