A KEIGHLEY shop is exhibiting a customer’s artwork after hearing his inspiring story.

Small Office Supplies in North Street is hosting the display by Michael Shearing in a bid to raise money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Customers and other visitors can see pictures that former deputy headmaster Michael painted since forging a new life following major illnesses.

Mr Shearing was born in Keighley in 1946 and was a keen teenage sportsman, playing rugby and cricket and once backpacking 200 miles along the Pennine Way with his friends.

Mr Shearing became a teacher in Halifax, focusing on maths, and one of his roles was taking children on field trips to the Yorkshire Dales, Whitby and Wales.

As well as playing the tuba, he was keen on steam trains and in 1970 became a member of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway Preservation Society.

In 1988 Mr Shearing became unwell, starting with a painful leg, and he was taken to Leeds General Infirmary for tests.

Doctors decided they needed to operate to find out what was wrong, and when he came round he was heartbroken to discover his leg had been amputated.

A virus which started in Mr Shearing’s leg had reached his heart, so a heart valve had to be replaced.

Not long after Michael suffered a stroke and was in a coma for two months. After this he could no longer speak and his right leg and arm were also affected.

Helen Avison, from Small Office Supplies, said: “Michael has still managed to live a very full life, learning to drive again, and visiting Lourdes, and in the last few years has enjoyed painting with watercolours.

“He has been coming to Small Office Supplies now for many years and we didn’t realise he had almost an art gallery full of watercolours until he produced a number of brown envelopes, brimming full of the most gorgeous water colours.”

Staff suggested Mr Shearing displayed his paintings in the shop, so they could be sold to the public, and he agreed on condition all proceeds went to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Helen added: “We have contributed by framing the prints and they are now on display in our window.

“When Michael comes in he is so happy and positive and he says ‘I am happy! The last years have been wonderful. I have been to Lourdes for six years and I have met some wonderful people.’”