AN ARTIST is following in the footsteps of iconic painters such as LS Lowry and Harold Riley in his role at a prestigious fine arts body.

Gerry Halpin, from Chorley, has been elected as one of Manchester Academy of Fine Art’s four lifelong trustees in recognition of his abstract Lancashire landscapes.

As part of this role Gerry, who has some of his work on display at Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, will oversee the modernisation of the 150-year-old Academy’s rules and regulations Other former members include famous names such as Theodore Major and Sir Winston Churchill, who was honorary vice-president.

Gerry, who lives in Adlington with his wife Pam, said: “It was quite a surprise. It’s exciting to be part of the history of something so old.”

John McCombs, president of the Manchester Academy, said: “His uniquely contemporary paintings reflect something of the Academy’s future direction. Whilst preserving respect for the old ways, we also want to be modern and face the challenges ahead.”

Gerry now paints out of his studio in Rivington, taking commissions for more typical landscape work, as well as painting his own unique abstracts across the county.

In 2009 he was awarded an MBE for his services to art and charity.