Secret artist discovered working for volunteer group spearheads campaign to improve Doncaster kids' teeth

A charity discovered one of their  Doncaster volunteers' secret art talent - and now he is spearheading a campaign to improve children's teeth.

Ben Bonser signed up as a volunteer at the Hill Top Centre in Edlngton three years ago, as he recovered from some health problems.

Rob Smedley, Mole R, and Ben Bonser, at the Hill Top Centre in Edlington. Community volunteer and artist Ben created the character being used in a health campaign

Rob Smedley, Mole R, and Ben Bonser, at the Hill Top Centre in Edlington. Community volunteer and artist Ben created the character being used in a health campaign

But officials who run the centre discovered he had been a keen amateur artist as a child, and have now used his skills to create a comic which will be used to encourage youngsters to visit their dentist.

And the creation he came up with has even been turned into a life-sized mascot costume that will be used to promote dental health.

The organisation is one of a number of groups including the NHS and public health officials who have put together a comic about a character called Mole R, which is being used in the comic.

Volunteer Ben was asked to create the character, which has now been printed and will be distributed all across the borough.

Former Don Valley High School pupil Ben, aged 35, is delighted to have had his talent put to use and says he would to make a career out of it.

He said: "I've been doing art since the aged of six, and it's something that I've always gone back to. I used to draw cartoon characters as a teenager. I used to be a fan of Teddy Ruxpin and used to re-design him a lot.

"I used to just draw on paper, and then I discovered graphics tablets, and I'd be lost without one now."

"My colleagues here saw some of my old cartoons, and just said 'we're looking for a mascot'. They gave me the name and the idea of a mole, and just left me to design it. It normally takes me a couple of hours to do a picture.

"It was great for me to focus on a project. I had the backgrounds to draw as well. I've even done caricatures of some the people who work in the dentists in Edlington to make it more realistic for the kids who read it. But one of them left, so I had to draw a new one with the replacement.

"I'd love it if it went nationwide."

Ben says he now would like to get into drawing for graphic novels. "This has ignited a need to tell a story," he said.