AN artist was inspired to make artwork supporting veterans after meeting a homeless veteran at a nearby beach.

Wendy Brown was walking her usual route at Barton-on-Sea at the start of lockdown when she came across a homeless veteran in his thirties.

Having spoken to the man, who Wendy said was there most days, she found out that he used to be in the army and had lost his job.

She said he "was clearly in a bit of a state. I had to do something to help".

The man then vanished from the beach and Wendy did not see him for some months but the encounter has now inspired her to support armed forces charity, SSAFA through her art.

The artist has now created a 1940s wartime seaside jigsaw puzzle which will be sold in aid of the charity who support service, reservists, veterans and their families.

Wendy said: "“Last October I was down the sea front again. I came out of the post office and almost walked straight into the soldier once again. We both stopped and although we were both wearing masks, we recognised each other.

“I got the chance to tell him that he had inspired me to do something, to paint and raise money to support veterans. He was really touched and was moved to tears.

“He gave me his telephone number, and we chatted for a while, but over the next few weeks he must have lost his phone as we lost contact. Whatever he had been through, he was an honest hardworking man. Anyone can fall on hard times at any time in your life.

“He served this country and would have been willing to put his life on the line. Now he is homeless, a lot of people just walk by him when he would have made the ultimate sacrifice for us.

“The jigsaw puzzle painting I have done for SSAFA, is his painting. He was the one who inspired me. I wish he could see what he has inspired.”

The puzzle can be purchased here to help support the charity.