Banner headlines! Sending out message of support for key workers

AN award-winning Hyde cartoonist, whose work has featured in Private Eye to Playboy, Punch to The Times, is collaborating on a new body of work.

And Tony Husband’s input into a project to celebrate the contributions of key workers during the coronavirus crisis has been made available to the Correspondent and sister paper, Saddleworth Independent.

Tony, who can name celebrities Stephen Fry and Ian Hislop among his friends, and three innovative colleagues are producing a series of five banners to recognise the efforts of NHS, key workers, carers and volunteers.

They have been designed in the style of traditional church, trade union and campaign banners.

These, though, will not be processed down a main street at a rally or religious parade such as Whit Friday.

Instead, they can be put on display in a window at home or workplace as a sign of appreciation for the efforts of those people tasked with saving lives.

So, the Correspondent is delighted to have teamed up with Tony and fellow collaborators Ian Beesley, Martyn Hall, and Ian McMillan to produce these commemorative banners for use by the community.

Ian drew the outline for the banner opposite, basing it on one at the People’s History Museum in Manchester for the Confederation of Health Service Employees (COHSE).

Tony created characters to represent postal workers, supermarket staff, delivery drivers and refuse collectors.

And Ian McMillan, described by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy as ‘world-class – one of today’s greatest poetry performers’, produced the accompanying Key Worker poem. It was then all created digitally by Martyn.

Prior to putting his artistic skills, sharp wit and eye for a gag to profitable use, the former Greenfield Street School pupil was a window dresser, jewellery repairer and advertising executive.

But in 1984 Tony, now 69 and who lives on the edge of Werneth Low, opted to become a full-time cartoonist.

He helped produce a satirical children’s comic, Oink!, worked on children’s television series Round the Bend and 35 years ago his work caught the eye of Private Eye editor and Have I Got News For You team captain Ian Hislop.

‘The Yobs’ cartoon strip has stood the test of time since 1984. He produced a daily sports cartoon for The Times for 25 years.

And Tony’s reputation and creative talents ensure he is always busy and evolving his craft.

It has led to the publication of 50 books with two in particular close to his heart.

“Every day I start with a blank piece of paper, fill it with funny ideas and try to sell them,” he says.
“It can be hard when you have other stuff going on in your life.

“My dad had dementia, my mum had cancer and died and my son had issues with heroin. Yet, you still carry on creating silly jokes.

“It is that ability to see something in a situation and turn it into a cartoon with one sentence what a whole page of writing can be.

‘From A Dark Place: How A Family Coped with Drug Addiction,’ tells of son Paul’s demons with drug. “Paul is in a good place now and is a very good photographer,” adds Tony proudly.

He also wrote movingly and drew the illustrations for Take Care, Son – a story of his father, Ron’s dementia.

Tony was also the illustrator for another thought-provoking book, ‘After, The Impact of Child Abuse’ and is working with one-time Manchester City schoolboy footballer, Gary Cliffe who initiated proceedings against child sex abuser, Barry Bennell.

Five thousand copies of Take Care, Son were bought by Sir Malcolm Walker, founder of Iceland Foods Ltd, to give to his staff to raise awareness of the condition.

“Stephen Fry tweeted about my original drawings for the book even before the book was thought of,” explained Tony.

“His tweet was shared millions of times and picked up by a publisher who said, ‘We saw your cartoons on Stephen Fry’s tweet, do you want to do a book?’

“Since then it has had a major impact on the dementia world and I have been involved in projects with dementia groups and care homes all over the country.”

This led to the creation of banners highlighting issues and awareness around dementia. And from there the next step was the creation of the banners available to our readers.

If you would like a copy of the banner, the Correspondent can email them in PDF or JPEG formats.

Simply email stating which design you would like.

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