The Teesside-born artist has produced numerous images for charities during his career, but none have been created in such challenging circumstances as the one he is donating to the Mayor of Stockton-on-Tees' fundraising ball.

Mackenzie walked into a “scene of absolute devastation” a week ago after Storm Isha led to his studio being flooded overnight, damaging all his latest artworks, including pieces for future exhibitions in the USA and UK.

However, what upset him most was losing a piece he had created especially for the Mayor of Stockton-on-Tees' fundraising ball, at Wynyard Hall, on February 16. The glittering event will raise money in aid of Councillor Jim Beall’s chosen charities – the North East Autism Society (NEAS), and the Eastern Ravens Trust, which supports disadvantaged youngsters.

Despite it all, Mackenzie, who is a proud patron of NEAS, worked amid the chaos to produce a new artwork to replace the ruined original, so the Mayor’s charities would not miss out.

It was heartbreaking because, after working through a couple of ideas, I’d finally managed to capture the feeling I was aiming for, and was pleased with the finished work. It was just off the easel and destroyed beyond repair. 

It’s impossible to recreate a piece that precisely captures the same feeling, so it was a question of having to draw a totally new image. I didn’t know if it would be possible within the limited time available, but I was desperate to deliver on the promise to support these two amazing charities.

After a couple of attempts, Mackenzie has now completed the new piece – called All Together – which symbolises the strong communities of the North-East. The artwork shows a Boro match being played amid an industrial landscape, featuring local landmarks such as the Transporter Bridge, Newport Bridge, and Roseberry Topping.

Mackenzie’s aim was to capture the importance of communities to charities like NEAS and the Eastern Ravens Trust, as well as the community spirit that was shown towards him after the storm damage to his studio.

Out of this relatively small catastrophe, people united. People all around the world expressed their sadness, and so many people and businesses in the North-East offered to help. Like all good communities, they came together to show their support, and I hope All Together manages to encapsulate that spirit of kindness and togetherness.

Councillor Beall, a long-time admirer of Mackenzie’s work, said he was “overwhelmed” by the artist’s actions in such difficult circumstances.

In the midst of what must have been soul-destroying, Mackenzie has put his own feelings to one side to work round the clock and come up with a new artwork to replace the lost original. That is the mark of the man, and I can’t thank him enough for what he’s done to support two incredible charities.

NEAS chief executive, John Phillipson, added:

Having Mackenzie as one of our patrons is priceless because he represents the beating heart of Teesside. To see that he has produced this magnificent work of art out of the wreckage of what happened is truly humbling.

When our school is South Bank was opened, in September 2020, it was named The Mackenzie Thorpe Centre in the artist’s honour, and he produced an artwork called Welcome To My World to mark the opening. Since then, we have opened a second Teesside school, Kiora Hall, in Councillor Beall’s Roseworth ward.

All Together is to be auctioned, with proceeds being split between NEAS and the Eastern Ravens Trust. A reserve price has been placed on the artwork and bids can be made over the phone by calling NEAS on 0191 492 4388. Additional bids will then be taken on the night at the Mayor’s Ball.