Nelson schoolboy Leon Fenemor may only be 11 years old, but he is already achieving fame as an artist.

The talented youngster's picture of a helicopter fighting the Nelson fires in February went viral after a photo of it was posted on social media.

Among the thousands of people to see it was Alan Beck, chief executive of Eltham-based helicopter operation Beck Helicopters who was helping fight the fires himself.

The helicopter featured in Leon's painting was one of Alan's, and he says he was blown away by Leon's talent.


"I was even more impressed when he then went on to make prints of his painting and sell them to fundraise for some groups involved in helping fight the fires."

In total, Leon has raised $2200 for the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter and the volunteer firefighters.

Alan commissioned Leon to paint a new picture depicting a helicopter which has hit wires.

"I wanted something I could use for the Down to the Wire campaign, and I was delighted to receive the painting today."

Down to the Wire is a helicopter safety campaign which raises awareness about the dangers of wires and power lines. It asks landowners to reduce the height of such hazards on their land to reduce the risk to helicopter pilots.

Alan says the painting is exactly what he wanted, and it will become a focal point of the campaign.

"I think a painting by a young person is going to get a lot more attention than people just listening to an old guy bleating on about safety in the sky."

The painting will be used in campaign posters, says Alan, and prints of it will be presented to people who get involved in the campaign.


"We normally present a certificate to farmers and landowners when they remove those wires, but now we will present them with a print of this painting too."

Alan hopes to be in Australia later this month to present a print of the painting to the first Down to the Wire ambassador in Australia, Robert Mills.

"The campaign is international now, so this painting is going to end up in a lot of places."