A COUPLE from Adlington have realised a long-held ambition by opening a fine art gallery.

Ian and Catherine Hay have launched The Saul Hay Gallery in Railway Cottage, a listed building in the heart of the Castlefield area of Manchester next to the Rochdale Canal .

Ian, 47, a former Southlands High School and Runshaw College student, said: "Catherine and I have both had a lifelong love of art and have become more serious collectors of contemporary art in the last 10 years.

Catherine is also an amateur artist.

"Our main motivations, though, have always been to support those artists whose work we love and to work for ourselves pursuing our passion for art.

"We've been working on establishing the Saul Hay Gallery for around 18 months before finding the perfect space.

"We will exhibit contemporary painting, sculpture, photography and mixed media works by local and national, emerging and established artists.

"Our aim is to always show work of the highest quality and to offer something different from the average high street gallery."

The building was formerly the offices of a sawmill and timber merchant, Southern and Darwent, who operated on the site from 1901 to 1991.

Beneath the building can be seen the oldest remaining stone from the original Roman Fort that gives Castlefield its name.

Ian added: "I have spent years following the work of artists I admire, having discovered them at exhibitions, art fairs, degree shows, on line, I approached those artists I wanted to show and was incredibly fortunate that so many were keen to work with us."

Their opening exhibition is now open the the public and the gallery is open each week from Wednesday to Sunday.