A MAJOR new prize has been created in memory of one of the region’s most celebrated artists, pitman turned painter Norman Cornish.

The family of Mr Cornish, from Spennymoor, County Durham, who died last year aged 94, has donated a £5,000 prize to The People Show.

The competition, which is organised by the University Gallery at Northumbria University, in Newcastle, aims to foster the creative talent of the North East.

It dates back around 20 years and returns this year after a hiatus, having last been held in 2008-09.

Artists of amateur and professional status can enter work in any recognised medium as long as the subject matter is about people.

Shortlisted works will be exhibited at the gallery from November into January 2016, when the £5,000 Norman Cornish Art Prize will be awarded to the most significant work.

The most popular entry, voted for by the public, will win £250.

University Gallery director Mara-Helen Wood said: “The gallery is approaching its 40th anniversary in 2017 we are delighted to bring back this extremely popular competition which will help mark the build-up to this celebration.

“Norman Cornish’s family is very keen to support The People Show and the new prize is being given by his estate to support and encourage the many talented artists in the region.

“We have wanted to resurrect The People Show for a number of years and this significant and generous new prize has made it possible.”

The judging panel will include art critic William Varley and artist Brita Granstrom, a runner-up in 2008 how with her portrait Brushing Hair.

Entry forms available online at universitygallery.co.uk and from the University Gallery on 0191-2274424, the deadline is October 1.