Jack is commissioned to paint a poster for the 2021 US F1 Grand Prix
A surprise message has led jack in a new direction, a new country, new affiliations, and new friends.
“…I have been following you and your son’s artwork on social media. He is such an inspiration!
Circuit of The Americas would like to help however possible. How can we best support his creativity?”
Keith Peterson, Head of Marketing at
Circuit of The Americas, Austin, Texas
Circuit of The Americas - host of the 2021 US F1 Grand Prix on Sunday 24th October - commissioned five artists to design a poster for the event and Jack was one of them. Given only six days notice before the deadline, Jack and his mum Sara pulled out all the stops to design and paint the appropriately named ‘Stars and Stripes’ – no mean feat during a school week!
The winner will be chosen soon following a public vote.
Sara, wondered if his painting could help an appropriate charity local to the race track. A collaboration between Sara, Jack and Keith Peterson led to contact with the Austin based Autism Society of Texas (AST), who were very happy to link up.
"The Autism Society of Texas was thrilled to learn that we had been chosen as a recipient of funds from Jack’s USGP poster! We loved learning about Jack and seeing how much he loves art, his passion for Formula 1, as well as aviation! His use of color and attention to detail, and how he expresses himself through art, really caught our eye! We loved his poster, “Stars and Stripes”. Jack’s desire to do things that help others is really a gift, and we are so impressed by Jack’s work and thoughtfulness. We are a nonprofit organisation that provides free information and referrals, support groups, education and training, as well as legislative advocacy and policy work to support families of children with autism, as well as autistic adults. Funds raised from the poster will be used to support our work! We are very grateful to Jack and his family."
Jacquie Benestante, Interim Executive Director,
Autism Society of Texas
Sara was invited to write the following message for the Autism Society of Texas website:
Jack is 14 years old and has autism spectrum disorder, selective mutism and epilepsy disorder.
During the pandemic he struggled to self-regulate with his emotions, so he started painting to express his feelings. Jack soon developed a love for Formula One, and he then started to create 3D models of the race cars using modelling paste. This began to open many doors for Jack to communicate with other artists.
In 2021 Jack was diagnosed with active epilepsy disorder. Though it’s his dream to attend a Formula One race, we know that this environment would not be ideal for us as a family as the crowds are big and there is lot of energy and excitement. His anxiety would be very high, and he would be prone to seizures and may wander away from his family.
The next best option for Jack then is to share his love for F1 by creating art. Painting pictures of cars and the drivers has helped Jack feel close to the sport, and when he closes his eyes, he can imagine that he is at a race.
It makes us happy as a family to support other parents who have dreams for their children. So, when Circuit of The Americas offered Jack the opportunity to paint a poster for the F1 United States Grand Prix – which is being sold to raise money to improve the lives of families affected by autism – of course he said “YES!”
In the words of Jack: “I like to show I care, and I do this through my paintings. Sharing is caring and I like to do that!”
And finally another message from the Circuit of The Americas
"We are ALL so proud of Jack! Tell him he helped contribute to the world’s biggest F1 race in history!"
Veteran Pathfinder Navigator John Ottewell holding his birthday gift, a commission painted by Jack
John Ottewell DFM, Legion d'honneur holding his 97th birthday gift.
John Ottewell was a Pathfinder Navigator during WW2. He did a full tour of operations with 115 Squadron after which his crew volunteered to go straight on to a second tour with The Pathfinders in 7 Squadron.
After VE Day they went on to train for war in the Pacific but luckily for them the dropping of the atom bomb ended the war sooner than expected. John went on to fly a as navigator with RAF Transport Command, then BOAC. Later he was employed as a navigator and pilot by BAC as part of their test crew.
The painting was inspired by a wartime photo of John outside their crew hut.
Jack meets veteran WWII aircrew at Project Propeller 2021
Jack has always shown great empathy and respect for our war veterans, hence they feature prominently in his book Flying High In The Sunlit Silence and especially so in his recent paintings (see Art Gallery page). Therefore an invitation to attend Project Propeller 2021 and meet his heroes came as a wonderful surprise.
Thanks to careful preplanning by the Project Propeller team and pilot Steve Hornsby (see 'Jack takes his first flight'), his visit to Wolverhampton went fantastically well, where he was afforded the same VIP treatment as the veterans.
Jack's visit is recounted below by Graham Cowie and Steve Hornsby.
I received a request from Chris Ottewell, the son of RAF veteran navigator John Ottewell DFM.
Chris explained that young Jack was a tatented artist who was fascinated with the Royal Air Force, and asked whether it might be possible for him to attend the gathering at Wolverhampton.
It was my pleasure to invite Jack and Sara to attend - Steve Hornsby, a stalwart supporter of the Project, was lined up to fly them down from Newcastle.
It was a genuine pleasure to see Jack so enthused to meet his heroes. He was immaculately turned out in his "Number 1" uniform, which impressed all the veterans that he met. Jack received a signed Spitfire / Hurricane print, which was presented to him by veteran Spitfire pilot Eddie Habberley.
Jack was able to board the visiting Avro Anson, and watched the Spitfire fly-past from the special viewing area at the top of the Control Tower.
Jack's visit was a special moment in the history of Project Propeller - the chance for a young man to meet the dwindling band of aviators who flew to defend our country in its darkest hours. I am sure the memories will stay with Jack long after our veterans have taken their final flight. Lest we forget.
Graham Cowie, Project Propeller Airside Organiser
On the morning of the 19th September 21, Project Propeller had finally come around. Project Propeller is a private reunion event for the last remaining World War Two aircrew; Jack was excited to meet some of his heroes and hear their stories.
Following his earlier flight Jack had decided that for this event he wanted to be co-pilot… so once passenger and luggage were loaded Jack helped me with the walk around of the aircraft, checking everything was where it should be before getting into our seats in the front of the aircraft. Following the checklist we prepared the aircraft for flight, Jack helping switch many of the systems on before we left Newcastle Airport heading out to Wolverhampton.
Once in the cruise at 5000ft Jack took control of the aircraft keeping it straight and level and heading in the direction we needed to go; he did have a wicked sense of humour though as every now and again he wanted to speed up to scare his mum in the backseat.
On arrival at Project Propeller we made our way to the hangar to meet the veterans, hear their stories and asking them to sign his book. Later in the morning an Avro Anson aircraft arrived and was parked right outside the hangar; Jack stood and watched as they taxied in and shut the two engines down. Later Jack got the chance to go inside the Anson and looked around the cockpit. After lunch Jack was presented with a special picture signed by the BBMF, the presentation itself was done by our last remaining Spitfire pilot, who Jack saluted and shook hands with before posing for many photos.
Later in the afternoon the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flew one of their Spitfires over and performed three passes, we were allowed to the top floor of the air traffic control tower for the best seat in the airfield.
Once farewells had been said we headed back to the aircraft and once again Jack helped with the walk around and we got into the aircraft, started up and taxied out, along with all the other aircraft that had turned up for Project Propeller with their respective veterans. After we had departed Wolverhampton Jack once again took control of the aircraft flying all the way back with hands on the control yolk, keeping it straight and level with the turns to take us on our onward journey. Approaching Newcastle we had to fly through some clouds due to visibility, as we approached Newcastle the airport turned the lights on for the approach giving a great view of the field as we came into land. Once down on the ground we got the passengers out and made our way back into Samson Aviation where we parked.
The flight had taken two hours there and two hours back, with Jack helping fly the aircraft for most of that time, despite forecasts of rain, the day stayed sunny and dry and many walk-in visitors also arrived and were able to meet some of the veterans.
Steve Hornsby, Project Propeller volunteer pilot.
"I felt like I was part of the war veterans community. I had time to be kind, share my RAF cap and honour lots of heroes".
We are very grateful for everything that has been given to Jack while we have been down here. The whole Project Propeller has made us feel at home. A home where the younger generation met the older generation and touched the hearts of those who have brought peace to us all.
Photos: Steve Hornsby, Andy Ward, Anni Davies Forrest
Jack's aiming to walk 76,000 steps to raise funds for the Lincolnshire's Lancaster Association - help him smash it!
Jack has launched a campaign to raise funds for the Lincolnshire's Lancaster Association (LLA). The LLA is a registered charity that helps the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) by paying for items outside of the annual budget received from the Government.
Spurred on by recent news of a mechanical problem on the flight's 76-year-old Avro Lancaster bomber. Jack aims to walk a massive 76,000 steps to raise £460 ( The aircraft currently carries the markings of AR-L 'Leader', which served with No. 460 Squadron RAAF ) to help ensure the sights and sounds of these historic aircraft continue to thrill us.
We at Team Jack think he is being far too modest, so lets all chip in and help Jack smash his target.
Photo: Karen Shortland
Jack takes his first flight
If you have been following Jack’s journey you will know he loves Spitfires. Today, an excited Jack made a visit to Eshott Airfield in north Northumberland. Formerly RAF Eshott, it was the wartime home to the Spitfires of No. 57 Operational Training Unit.
There was more to today's visit than viewing the aircraft and a hangar tour. Jack has been honoured with an invitation to attend the Project Propeller 2021 meet at Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green Airport. Project Propeller is an annual reunion for WWII aircrew. Veterans are flown to and from the venue by volunteer pilots in a fleet of light aircraft, free of charge - a unique feature of Project Propeller - and should they wish to, offers them the opportunity to handle the aircraft for themselves.
Like the veterans, Jack will be flown to and from the event, departing early on Sunday 19th September from Newcastle International Airport.
Being autistic, new experiences can make Jack anxious. Today's visit gave jack the opportunity to meet his pilot Steve Hornsby, familiarise himself the aircraft being used next weekend and to see how he coped in the air.
Steve often combines his love of flying and helping charities, taking passengers for flights in his 4 seat Piper PA28 180 aircraft. He was brilliant with Jack, explaining everything clearly and calmly to keep Jack’s anxiety at bay. Jack said he was very funny too.
So today, Jack went flying, taking his first ever flight from the very same runway previously used by one of his beloved Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfires, P7350 which was based at RAF Eshott in 1944 and still flying to this day!
Steve gave us the following account of Jack’s visit:
After meeting Jack at Eshott airfield we made our way to the hangar across the airfield, a nice walk to where the aircraft was parked. Jack was excited to get close up to so many aircraft, spotting the differences between the smaller 2 seaters and flex wing aircraft. Following this I introduced Jack to my aircraft, G-AYAW and Jack enjoyed climbing onto the wing and sitting in the front of the aircraft, taking in all the different controls.
Jack's mum asked if he wanted to go for a short flight, at this point Jack made a direct line to the aircraft, followed the instructions about how to get into the aircraft and was in and seat belt fastened before we knew it. This was followed by a short flight with Jack and his mum, both enjoying a high-speed fly through above the runway before returning to land.
After landing Jack took the opportunity to jump into the front seat where he helped me taxi the aircraft from its hold point, across the runways and up to the parking point where Jack then helped shut down the aircraft, which needs to follow a strict sequence. All done carefully and correctly by Jack...a great co-pilot!
Thanks to Steve, Jack’s familiarisation was a success, and everyone is now looking forward to Project Propeller.
Photos: Aircraft & Flightplan, Steve Hornsby. Spitfire P7350, Karen Shortland
"The day I got to feel like a Red Arrows pilot"
Another exciting base visit for Jack and a chance to see more BAE Hawks. They were not painted black as they had been in his recent visit to RAF Leeming, but in a glorious red - Jack had been invited to meet the world-famous RAF aerobatic display team the Red Arrows at RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire.
Arriving just after midday, Jack - appropriately dressed in his Red Arrows flight suit - was in time to watch the team take-off for their display at nearby RAF Syerston.
Team manager, Wing Commander David Montenegro welcomed Jack and his family and took them on a tour as they waited for the jets to return from their display.
50 minutes later the Red Arrows returned with a flourish, giving Jack his very own flypast.
Jack was able to get very close as they landed and one by one the Hawks taxied past, the pilots waving to him as they did so.
A special photo opportunity next as Jack met the team and thanked each one in turn by offering them a handshake. Red One, Squadron Leader Tom Bould allowed Jack to take a look inside the cockpit of his jet - Jack saw this as a chance to climb in, however a spirited dash from his grandmother prevented him from doing so!
Jack had painted a picture of the team which he has called Best of British to say thank you, this was handed over as the team headed off to their post-display briefing.
Jack was overwhelmed by the occasion and needed a big hug from his mum Sara.
Afterwards, a still excited Jack said:
"The pilots made me feel like I was one of them, and can't wait to tell my cousin, my grandad and my uncle John that I've had my very own flypast"
A family lunch followed at the Dambusters Inn, Scampton village. The pub is decorated throughout with memorabilia. Jack took it all in and was enthralled by the 'The Dams Raid' wall of fame.
He also paid is repects to the fallen at Scampton village church, where he saw the very beautiful stained glass commemorative window.
Thank you to everyone at RAF Scampton for making Jack's dreams come true, you've made a special young lad very happy indeed.
And, thank you Maxine Grundy for allowing us to use your amazing photographs.
Photos: Maxine Grundy
Jack visits RAF Leeming and 100 Squadron
Today Jack took up his invitation to visit RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire. RAF Leeming is home 100 Squadron and their black painted BAE Hawk T1A aircraft, whose primary role is to provide air combat training for the RAF's front line fighter squadrons.
Their tour guide was 'Coops', a 100 Squadron pilot. The party were given an amazing behind the scenes tour which included the 100 squadron 'office' and an aircraft hangar where they was able to get up close to the BAE Hawks. Coops explained the aircraft and Jack took a particular interest in the cockpit and its contols. A demonstration of pilot's flying and survival equipment allowed Jack to try a Mae West lifejacket for size. The tour ended with light refreshments in the 100 Squadron bar!
Jack's mum Sara adds:
"I would say that RAF Leeming is a base close to our hearts. Jack spent time with a pilot who has a similar story to us as a family. This made our visit even more special. Thanks to RAF Leeming we were able to meet a therapy dog called Watson with whom Jack bonded immediately.
Thanks to all everyone at the base Jack's needs were fully met, showing that kindness can be seen across any obstacles".
Photos: RAF Leeming
Jack wins an award in the Sunderland Young Achievers' Awards 2021
And the winner of the Sunderland Young Achievers' Awards - Service to the Community (14 to 20 years) category is...drum roll...Jack Berry!
Now in its 29th year, the Sunderland Young Achievers' Awards celebrate the fantastic achievements of the children and young people of Sunderland; recognising their bravery, talent and positive contributions to their communities.
Key Team Jack member Karen Shortland said in her video nomination recorded for the event:
"Jack's biggest achievement is in bringing people together while the world faced isolation during the pandemic"
Well done Jack, we are all very proud of you. Keep flying high.
Jack and John Henry Meller met in person at the Bomber Command 85th Anniversary Service of Commemoration
Jack and WWII Bomber Command Veteran, John Henry Meller met at the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) at Lincoln. They joined other Veterans, familes and service personel to commemorate the 85th Anniversary of Bomber Command.
This was their first meeting in person since their special friendship began in the summer of 2020. Jack was resplendant in his uniform, a gift from John and his family.
Prior to the service they were interviewed by BBC Breakfast reporter John Maguire who has been following Jack's story with interest.
Following the event the families and friends reconvened to the historic Petwood Hotel, Woodhall Spa for a relaxing afternoon together.
Photos: Maxine Grundy & Caroline Brownbill
"Giraffes on tour"
An update to Jack's visit to Newark on May 31st.
In several event photos previously posted on social media, Jack is seen with a photo of a young girl and a cuddly toy Giraffe. The significance of these has just been brought to my attention, hence this update.
The girl in the photo is Louise Conway, and the Giraffe is called Geoffrey. Sadly, Louise passed away in 2013 aged 9 years after suffering a rare form of Leukaemia. The original Geoffrey the Giraffe was her best companion while she was poorly and now rests with Louise.
The RAF Coningsby & UK Spotters Group - of which Louise's father Ian Conway is a member - adopted Geoffrey as their mascot and hatched a plan to send Giraffes to aviation related locations worldwide and fly them in as many different aircraft types as possible, taking photos and posting them on their newly created "Giraffes on Tour" Facebook page.
This led to a fundraising campaign for the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children which has so far raised over £5000 and is still growing!
The link below will take you to the "Giraffes on Tour" website where you can learn more about Loise, Geoffrey and their meeting with Jack.
Photo: Shaun Westell
Photo: Karen Shortland
I'm Just Chillin' With My Captains
A big thank you to Jon and Martin from LDF Graphic Prints who made these bespoke goodies especially for Jack to say well done for his book and charity fundraising achievements.
Jack likes nothing better than chillin' with his Captains!
Jack takes up voluntary role as Teenage Artist in Residence at Newark Air Museum and given an honorary membership
Today Newark Air Museum pulled out all the stops for Jack and his family by hosting a fantastic book signing event and art display.
Jack was excited to meet his friends, supporters, and the public. He was even more excited to be given a voluntary role as Teenage Artist in Residence and an honorary museum membership. This will allow him to return to paint the museum aircraft whenever he wants to.
Jack’s original paintings from his book Flying High In The Sunlit Silence as well as examples of his recent work were displayed adjacent to his favourite aircraft – Captain Seb’s Jetstream.
In a futher show of support, the museum offered discounted admission for visitors who said “We Are Team Jack” at the admission kiosk!
Richard Bland kindly brought along Wing Commander GB of the Royal Bear Force to accompany Jack for the rest of his holiday.
Well done Newark, you did Jack proud.
Jack's mini book tour 2021 - Newark & Lincolnshire, UK
Week commencing 31/05/21, Jack will be visiting the Newark Air Museum and some of his favourite aviation locations in Lincolnshire, UK.
Arrangements have been made for Jack to meet his friends and supporters at two venues. Please come along and say hello, have your book signed or receive a signed book plate and view original art.
Jack will be wearing his dashing new BBMF flight suit for the occasion.
31/05/21: Newark Air Museum.
01/06/21: Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre.
Jack is proud to support Richard Bland and his amazing #RoyalBearForce 2021 COASTTOCOASTIN80PLANES campaign
Jack is proud to support Richard Bland and his amazing #RoyalBearForce 2021 COASTTOCOASTIN80PLANES campaign to raise children's awareness of mental health and wellbeing and to spread his message to TALK, TALK, TALK, on a journey around the UK.
Richard and his bear - Wing Commander Andrew Bland (affectionately known as AB) of the Royal Bear Force - have played a major part in helping Jack through his difficulties in 2020, so much so that Jack dedicated a whole page to AB in his book Flying High In The Sunlit Silence which we have also included in our website charities section.
It is an inspirational story and we wholeheartedly recommend you take time to read it and follow the link for further information.
Good look with your campaign Richard, we at Team Jack applaud you.
Flt Lt Ernie Holmes celebrates his 100th birthday with a painting commissioned by SSAFA from Jack
Flight Lieutenant Ernie Holmes recently celebrated his 100th birthday at Kincarrathie House in Perth.
While the celebrations may have been curtailed due to Covid restrictions, they were not dampened in any way. Ernie's remarkable and poignant story was movingly told in an online presentation by the students of East of Scotland University Air Squadron; and he received many good wishes from around the country including a personal note from the Duke of Rothesay with a bottle of Malt whisky and copy of a book produced by 14-year-old aviation artist Jack Berry. This was accompanied by a hand painted picture which Jack had completed specially for Ernie, all in aid of SSAFA.
Jack is awarded a Point of Light award by Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Team Jack are very pround to announce that Jack has been given a Point of Light award by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Points of Light are outstanding individual volunteers – people who are making a change in their community. Every week day the Prime Minister recognises an inspirational volunteer with the Daily Point of Light award.
In a personal letter to Jack, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“Every day I write to thank somebody in our country for doing something special. Today that person is you!
“With your beautifully illustrated book, you have captured the majesty of our nation’s aviation history. From the restored NHS Spitfire which lit up our skies with the names of NHS heroes, to the splendour of the Red Arrows, your pictures tell uplifting stories all while raising important funds for SSAFA”.
Jack and Sara appeared on BBC Breakfast this morning.
John Henry Meller, WO (Ret) WWII Bomber Command Veteran
Former Tornado GR4 pilot
Duncan & Chris
PDA Dads UK
Newark Air Museum
World book day 2021 and book sales fly past 4000!
World book day 2021 and we are pleased to announce sales of Flying High In The Sunlit Silence have passed 4000 since publication on 23-01-2021.
Jack hands over his first charity donation
The first donations to Jack's three charities from sales of Flying High In The Sunlit Silence were made today. Covid restrictions meant cheques had to be posted to the IBCC and LLA. However Jack was able to hand over the SSAFA cheque personally to Brian West of the SSAFA Durham branch.
"Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting Jack at his home to collect a cheque as the first donation from the sale of his book "Flying High in the Sunlit Silence".This has now been passed to SSAFA's Fundraising Team in London, who will ensure that the donations given to SSAFA from Jack's book go to support Families with Additional Needs and Disabilities Forum (FANDF)"
Brian West, SSAFA Durham Branch
First international review
Today we received our first international review - from Canada. Thank you Chantal D. for your fantastic 5 star review.
Jack's story is broadcast on BBC Breakfast
BBC repoter John Maguire has followed the progress of Jack's book since late summer 2020. John's heartwarming report was broadcast on BBC Breakfast this morning and repeated later on regional BBC Look North.
Flying High In The Sunlit Silence book launch
A successful Zoom book launch was held on Sunday 24th January 2021, hosted by the pioneering former Tornado GR4 pilot and author Mandy Hickson.
Launched by presenter Dan White. There was an apt recital of the aviators poem High Flight by Spitfire pilot Squadron Leader Mark Discombe, Officer Commanding Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Equally apt, Tribute to the Lanc was read by former Lancaster Wireless Operator John Henry Meller. The final recital was an original poem called Mighty Fin read by its author Ailsa Snaith.
Charities were represented by; Sir Andrew Gregory, CEO of SSAFA; Surgeon Commander Alan Bowie, Chairman of FANDF; Ray Bainborough, Chairman of Lincolnshire's Lancaster Association (LLA) and Jess Van Der Drift, Learning Officer at the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC).
There was also an appraisal of Jack's work from fellow aviation artist Spencer Trickett of Skytoons.
13-year-old Alfie Bennet - self taught pianist and guitarist - gave an amazing piano recital of the Queen song Somebody To Love Me.
The event came to a close with a mass sing-along of Happy Birthday to Jack led by Anna Baines from SSAFA.