Luton Town-themed pub is an ever bigger draw following addition of latest artwork featuring Mick Harford and club badge
Artist gets to meet Hatters legend who is amazed by his handiwork
A Luton Town-themed pub should prove to be an even bigger draw for supporters following the addition of some impressive artwork which has earned the approval of Hatters legend Mick Harford.
Jayson Swift 35, of Wigmore, was invited to paint a giant club badge on the wall of the outdoor seating area at the Wheelwright Arms and also suggested installing a mural of Mick while he was at it.
After spending an entire weekend producing the artwork, Mick gave the thumbs up when he spotted Jayson's post about the creations on social media, saying "Wow Jayson, that’s brilliant, took my breath away. What a talent you have. Thanks, love it."
And on Sunday, the pair met up at the Guildford Street pub alongside landlady Helena Dalgarno so Mick could see Jayson's handiwork and pass on his congratulations first hand.
Jayson, who has always had an interest in art, but actually works as a buyer at family firm M&S Water Services of Luton, said: "It's the first time I've done this sort of thing, I have been selling hand engraved mirrors on social media and got contacted by landlady at the Wheelwright Arms a few months ago asking for one engraved with the Luton Town crest.
"Then out of blue she contacted me asking if I knew anyone who could paint the badge and a current player on the wall of the outdoor seating area. I said I could, but rather than a player, as they can leave, I suggested Mick Harford [chief recruitment officer and former player and manager] who is a legend and will always be associated with the club."
Jayson is actually a Man City fan because a relative played for them in the 1950s, but he has a soft spot for the Hatters too being Luton born and bred.
He added: "I did drawings on paper and Helena okayed it. The crest and Mick took me all weekend. I started at 8am on Saturday (May 8) and worked until 5pm, then did 9am till 7.30pm on the Sunday.
"Getting them on paper first is half the battle won. I then drew it on the wall with a graphite pencil and when I was happy started using the masonry paint over it. I started with the face first and then shoulders, arms, stepping back every so often, with the drawing next to it to refer to.
"I was very happy with them. Social media has had an amazing response. Mick Harford messaged me and wanted to meet at the pub. Already someone else has contacted me who wants the Luton badge put on the side of a caravan.
"We met on Sunday and Mick was very overwhelmed by the pub and the mural. He stayed for a drink and signed some shirts and signed the mural also.
"I am also going to do ten canvases with the image on. Mick has agreed to sign them and we will sell them and donate the money to one of his charities."
As well as the new artwork, the inside of the pub is filled with Luton Town memorabilia, including signed shirts, pictures, mirrors, flags and scarves.
Luton fan Helena, who has worked at the Wheelwrights for 27 years, which reopened after lockdown today, says the pub is a popular at stop-off for supporters.
"I love the support we get from the fans. We have missed them. Some are regulars anyway, but we will see them all again in August."
Of Mick's visit, she said: "We had an amazing two hours. Jayson has done an incredible job and Mick got a bit emotional. He was honoured to have a picture on the wall. It's the first time I've met Mick and he's an amazing man, he could not get over what we have inside the pub."