A Steeton pensioner who has taught decades of budding artists has decided it is time to hang up his teacher’s cap.

Derrick Green, 81, of Upper School Street, began Steeton Art Group in 1976 after a village resident suggested it would be a good idea.

Starting out at St Stephen’s Church, with eight members, the club then moved to St Joseph’s, in Cross Hills, where ten attended, before stationing itself at Carmel House, where the popularity of Derrick’s group had increased to 16.

The classes were for members over the age of 55, who were set tasks in life drawing, watercolour, abstract art and more while Derrick looked over their shoulder and advised them.

But while on an art holiday in Warwick one day, Mr Green had an accident, which broke his leg and meant he could no longer travel to venues to hold classes. “After that, I held classes at my house,” Mr Green explained.

“I have broken the news to them that I have decided to stop running the classes, because I just feel it was time to retire.

“But I have had a great time teaching the classes and I will still do some art myself.

“I have said to my pupils that they are welcome to still come and ask me for advice if they want and I am sure we will still keep in touch.”

Longest-attending pupil Ms Ann Yearby said she felt the closure of the classes was like the end of an era. She said: “I have been going from day one and I have seen quite a few people come and go in that time. It really got to be more of a social event. Derek was an absolutely brilliant teacher.”