A GIFTED painter whose artistic talents lay undiscovered for years has finally found recognition.

Colin Powell, 56, of Bridgwater, lives independently with a few hours of weekly care provided by Somerset County Council.

He is an accomplished photographer, but though he has painted for years he felt he had missed his chance to see his work on display publicly.

Colin was put in touch with the council’s Aspire Support for Work service, which helps adults with learning disabilities find employment.

Aspire staff contacted the NHS to see if it would like to commission one of his paintings for the new Bridgwater Hospital, and to Colin’s delight they commissioned four.

Simon Corrick, Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s project director for the new hospital, said: “We were delighted to offer Colin the opportunity to paint a number of local scenes which are now on display in one of the hospital’s meeting rooms.”

Aspire also contacted Neil Hansford, of the Princess Theatre in Burnham, which has agreed to exhibit his work in the its café.

Colin said: “I’m so happy that people are now buying my paintings.

“I’ve been turned down in the past, but now it has finally happened for me.

“I’m grateful to the staff at Aspire who have helped look after me all the way through.”

County councillor William Wallace, responsible for services to people with learning disabilities, said: “Colin’s clearly a very talented painter and deserves his own exhibition on merit.”

For more information call Michele Mac-Ritchie on 07880-179015 or email MMacRitchie @somerset.gov.uk