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A unique view of St Paul's animals for young explorers - by a special artist
We asked Reuben Coe, who was born with Down Syndrome, to draw a map - "I can do that!" he said
27 October 2016
The new Young Explorers' Map features many of St Paul's weird and wonderful animals, including an owl, camel and lots of Reuben's favourite lions.
The map also has text in Reuben's Font - a design based on Reuben's handwriting.
We welcomed Reuben and his parents to launch the Young Explorers’ Map on Thursday 27 October 2016.
St Paul's Canon Chancellor Revd Mark Oakley greeted our visitors, saying: "Reuben Coe is many things. He is a son, a brother, an uncle, a friend, a writer, an artist, a comedian. And he is also a person who was born with Down Syndrome ... Thank you Reuben for working with us and the way in which you have brought these animals to life. We are excited to introduce them to our youngest visitors to the Cathedral."
After Sub-Organist Peter Holder played Reuben’s favourite hymn – How Great Thou Art - some visitors started to seek out St Paul's animals with the map.
Reuben said: "I'm looking forward to seeing the Young Explorers use the map."
St Paul’s Head of Schools and Family Learning Donna McDowell said: “Reuben was an absolute delight to work with. In his initial meeting with myself and the designer he brought along a portfolio of his work, and it was obvious from looking at his drawings of London that he was perfect for this project.
“We spent time together in the Cathedral talking about the art work and the statues and the Cathedral’s history. I wanted Reuben to get a sense of the place and all the imagery inside before settling on what illustrations he would provide for our new Young Explorers’ Map.
“Reuben was really taken with the different lions that can be found all around the Cathedral and so it felt very natural to make animals our focus. We took some photographs and Reuben’s brother Manni told me that as soon as they went back to their hotel he started drawing them. He also drew himself dancing in the rain outside the Cathedral with his umbrella.
“This is my favourite illustration as it really captures Reuben’s infectious joy and the delight he felt at discovering St Paul’s for himself.”
Norwich Cathedral uses Reuben's Font for family and children's events.
James Shelton, Marketing Manager at Norwich Cathedral, said: “Everyone at Norwich Cathedral congratulates Reuben on his work with St Paul’s. It is so pleasing to see his talent and fundraising efforts recognised by another Cathedral in this way.
“The use of Reuben’s special handwritten font to promote events for families and young people at Norwich Cathedral has helped to create quite a buzz over the last 10 months. This will no doubt also be the case at St Paul’s, with young people able to experience the beauty of the building using Reuben’s wonderfully engaging trail map.
Andrew Greetham of Practical Dreamers Design, who worked on the map, said: “As well as his creativity, what is most remarkable to me about Reuben is the way he demonstrates the possibility to lead an enjoyable and fulfilling lifestyle, with optimism and imagination, whilst facing the challenges presented by Down’s Syndrome.
"Working with Reuben and his wonderful illustrations of the animals of St Paul's was a real joy, I hope the young explorers who come through the cathedral doors will get as much pleasure from the map as I had in helping to create it."
Find out more about Reuben and download Reuben’s Font at his website - www.reubensworld.com