TRIBUTE has been paid to a popular Haworth artist and former headteacher who has died aged 69 after a two-year battle against brain cancer.

Despite losing his sight due to the illness, George Bowden retained his passion for painting.

And last year he and his wife Sarah – who in 2016 together set up Wuthering Arts Gallery, in Main Street, Haworth – began a series of braille artworks, calling themselves Blind Truths.

Sarah says: “We completed one painting, Love Not War, which has been reproduced on T-shirts – in collaboration with – and I am going to sell them in aid of Manorlands hospice where George was cared for in his final days.

“We prepared other canvasses as well, but unfortunately George became too ill to continue. I am determined to complete them in his honour.”

George was born in Gloucester but was brought up from the age of five at the National Children’s Home in Harrogate.

In the 1970s he began teaching in special education, initially at Chipping Norton but returning to Yorkshire in the early 1980s and taking up posts at Hilton Grange Residential School and then Lister Lane Special School in Bradford, where he became deputy head.

He later held headships at Hawksworth Hall Residential School and Netherlands Avenue Special School, and worked on the Bradford Building Schools for the Future programme.

In 2010 he opened Phoenix Special School in Keighley, and remained there as headteacher until taking early retirement two years later.

He was also a governor at Haworth Primary School for a number of years.

His love of art and painting was long held, although he didn’t formally put brush to paper until he was in his 50s.

Sarah says: “George developed a love for pastels and oil painting.

“He was known for his vivid, bold use of colour and expressionistic images of urban and moorland scenes.

“He loved talking to people who visited the gallery and would always encourage anyone, of any age, who had a desire to pursue their own artistic endeavours. He was pleased to learn that his art was being studied on the curriculum at Oakbank School.”

George completed his final painting as a sighted artist, Disunited Kingdom, in May, 2021.

He is survived by Sarah, two sons, two daughters, a step-daughter, a sister and nine grandchildren.

The funeral service is at Haworth Parish Church next Thursday (July 20), at 1pm.