A BLACK Country artist has created a special piece of work to celebrate the launch of a new ‘adult fostering’ scheme.

Mark Ashton, from Wollaston, taught art for 33 years at a secondary school in Rowley Regis, but he was involved in a serious traffic accident in 2011, which left him with life-threatening injuries.

Unable to walk or talk and suffering from memory loss, Mark underwent a lengthy period of rehabilitation, in which his passion for art kept him going.

After returning home, Mark started volunteering at Camphill Village Trust’s ‘The Cockleshell Pottery Café’ on Worcester Street in Stourbridge, helping customers to draw and paint their pottery.

It was there that he bumped into Dean Barnshaw, who works in the charity’s offices above the café, who asked Mark to paint a large canvas with a theme based on the area to mark the launch of CVT’s shared lives scheme.

The scheme has started to take off and CVT are already in the process of recruiting eight sets of carers in the borough, who are wanting to welcome someone into their home and be part of their family life.

The charity intends to be offering arrangements to people referred by the local authority by the end of Autumn.

For more information about the shared lives scheme, or to become a carer, visit www.cvt.org.uk/sharedlives, or visit the Cockleshell Café and pick up a leaflet.

Mark said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed working on this painting and investigating the architecture and iconography that represent the town and local area.

“The Cockleshell is a lovely café and I take a lot of satisfaction from helping out the young families and children with their painting.”

Dean added: “I knew Mark did some of his own work which he sells whilst assisting at the café, so I just wondered if he might be interested in creating a painting for our new office space.

“It definitely brightens up the place and I know Mark has spent many months in deciding what to paint, so we are very grateful.”