Milton Keynes Council investigate graffiti mural by ‘female Banksy’

By Danny FullbrookBBC News, Buckinghamshire

imageNadiya Close up of mural showing a lady in a window coloured yellow and blue like flag of UkraineNadiya
Mr Edwards said he had to speak to street artist Bambi “through a plastic sheet, I couldn’t even meet her”

A council is investigating after a graffiti mural appeared on the side of a Grade II listed house in support of Ukrainian refugees.

Derek Edwards, who lives in Willen, Milton Keynes, co-founded Nadiya, a charity that supports refugees.

As part of a campaign for the charity he had the art put on his own 400-year-old home by street artist Bambi who is dubbed “the female Banksy”.

Milton Keynes Council said it was “looking into the matter”.

Mr Edwards, 65, said he has helped more than 1,000 people from multiple countries including Ukraine, Syria and Afghanistan to find accommodation.

The charity founder estimated he and his family have been personal guarantors for more than 150 refugees.

Nadiya has also helped find a home for struggling British families.

imageNadiya The mural in Milton KynesNadiya
The charity founder said his home, where the mural has been painted, has housed refugees since 2016

Mr Edwards wanted to draw attention to the work of his charity and what he felt was the lack of support for refugees.

He explained: “I’ve been working on the Ukraine crisis since the star of the war.

“We knew we were coming to the second anniversary of the war, so we knew we had to do something.

“That house has had refugees from different countries since the Calais Jungle crisis in 2016”.

The artwork does not have planning permission and the Milton Road resident said he did expect the local authority to take issue with it.

“I do know what I’ve done is wrong but sometimes you have to do what’s wrong, to do what’s right.”

imageNadiya Derek EdwardsNadiya
At the start of the Ukraine war Mr Edwards drove to the country in a mini bus to help relocate refugees.

To commission the mural, wfirst reported by MK Citizen, Mr Edwards had to meet Bambi, a street artist who hides her real identity.

“I had to speak to her through a plastic sheet, I couldn’t even meet her,” he recalled.

Since the artwork appeared he has not heard from the council, but has seen some people complaining on social media.

He said he expects to eventually be ordered to remove the mural.

Mr Edwards has invited Ukrainian families his charity has supported to visit the mural in an act of solidarity on Sunday.

“It will be a celebration of what I’ve done for them and what they’ve done for me,” he said.

A spokesperson for Milton Keynes City Council said: “We are aware of the mural and are looking into the matter.”

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