WATCH VIDEO - Sleaford-born comedienne Jennifer Saunders among top ten East Midlanders immortalised in used train tickets

Sleaford-born Jennifer Saunders is among the portraits by British Artist Ed Chapman, who has recreated a top ten list of greatest ever East Midlanders (as voted for by the public) out of discarded train tickets.

Artist Ed Chapman with some of his top 10 East Midlander portraits, including Jennifer Saunders - born in Sleaford.
Artist Ed Chapman with some of his top 10 East Midlander portraits, including Jennifer Saunders - born in Sleaford.

Commissioned by East Midlands trains to highlight the environmental benefits of new mobile tickets – the 3,000 discarded paper train tickets he has used represents just one hour’s worth of tickets printed across the region currently.

The artworks by Mr Chapman, 47, were commissioned by East Midlands Trains to raise awareness of the benefits of new mobile tickets – which are completely paperless and stored on your smartphone.

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The portraits – which took 280 hours to complete - include famous faces from the region, including comedienne Jennifer Saunders, who was born in Sleaford, and John Hurt, who spent his teenage years growing up in Cleethorpes.

Artist Ed Chapman with some of his top 10 East Midlander portraits, including Jennifer Saunders - born in Sleaford.

The famous faces recreated by Ed were chosen by the public, who were asked to vote for their greatest ever products of the East Midlands.

Top of the list was Leicester-born naturalist Sir David Attenborough, followed by Woolsthorpe’s Sir Isaac Newton and Nottingham’s legendary character Robin Hood. Rounding out the top-five ‘greatest East Midlanders’ were David’s older brother Richard Attenborough, famous for The Great Escape and Jurassic Park, and England footballer Gary Lineker.

Further down the list, respondents in the survey took ‘products’ more literally and the East Midlands produced Melton Mowbray Pork Pie was a surprise nomination coming in at 11th. But, the picnic favourite still received more votes than Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Tess Daly, and Monty Python’s Graham Chapman.

The artist said: “It was quite a surreal moment seeing all of these famous faces come to life in front of me from what originally started as a pile of discarded paper tickets. Hopefully it will inspire a few people to cut down on their paper ticket use and go mobile – or even create their own artworks.

Jennifer Saunders in used train tickets - by Ed Chapman.

“Not only are the images of famous faces from the East Midlands, but the craft materials themselves have each travelled on a different journey across the region, each with its own story from station to station.

Ed is an acclaimed British mosaic artist, whose previous works include a portrait of Jimi Hendrix made entirely from guitar picks, a mosaic of David Beckham created out of old pennies and recreated tennis-star Andy Murray in carpet stains.

All the portraits will be auctioned off with all proceeds going to charity.

Jake Kelly, Managing Director of East Midlands Trains said: “What Ed has done with a few thousand old and unused paper tickets is pretty remarkable. As well as bringing a smile to a few faces, we want to use these artworks to raise awareness about the benefits of using mobile tickets. As well as saving time and hassle at the station, there’s a clear environmental benefit to adopting digital tickets.

Ed Chapman's train ticket portrait of John Hurt, who grew up in Cleethorpes..

“These tickets represent just one hour’s worth of paper tickets sold across our network, with over 28,000,000 tickets printed across the whole year. By the end of 2018, we aim to have fully rolled out mobile tickets across the entire network and so significantly cut down on this number.”

With m-Tickets, passengers now have the option to jump straight on board the train without needing to collect paper tickets at the station – while customers who wish to continue using papers tickets can still do so. They are part of East Midlands Trains and Stagecoach’s commitment to making it simple and easy for customers to travel right across the UK.

Top 10 Greatest Ever East Midlanders and their birthplace:

1 Sir David Attenborough (Leicester, Leicestershire)

2 Sir Isaac Newton (Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire)

3 Robin Hood (Nottingham, Nottinghamshire)

4 Sir Richard Attenborough (Leicester, Leicestershire)

5 Gary Lineker (Leicester, Leicestershire)

6 Jennifer Saunders (Sleaford, Lincolnshire)

7 sir John Hurt (Chesterfield, Derbyshire)

8 Alan Carr (Northampton, Northamptonshire)

9 Dame Vivienne Westwood (Glossop, Derbyshire)

10 Matt Smith (Northampton, Northamptonshire)