A SELF-TAUGHT artist who has previously used her creative talent to help solve the disappearance of a British toddler who went missing almost 28 years ago has surprised a North-East artist with a special portrait.

Nat Moss, from Middlesbrough, surprised Mackenzie Thorpe, who is also from the town, at his gallery earlier this month with her drawing.

The 32-year-old was inspired to draw the portrait after realising how much joy people got from seeing his work, and decided to create something to give back to him.

When she gave Mr Thorpe his surprise gift, he initially thought it was going to be an Easter egg, and gave Mrs Moss a hug when she told him he could keep her work.

Speaking to The Northern Echo, Mrs Moss said: "Art means so much to him, so I decided to do a picture of him to surprise him.

"Everyone gets so much enjoyment from his work and gets to take something away from his gallery, but it never gets to be the other way round.

"He was over the moon and gave me a hug. He is such a lovely man. It was so great to meet him and I'm really pleased he liked the portrait."

Mr Thorpe, who has a gallery in Richmond, North Yorkshire, said: “It was a pleasure to meet Nat at my gallery a few weeks ago and I was so pleased with the portrait she presented to me.

"It’s great to see someone pursuing their artistic talent and Nat’s portraits show true skill, while her enthusiasm is infectious.

"I’m always happy to see people from Middlesbrough, and especially artists from the area, getting the recognition their talent deserves.”

Mrs Moss previously painted a portrait of Ben Needham, the missing toddler who was 21 months old when he disappeared on the Greek island of Kos in July 1991.

With the blessing of Ben's family, she created the artwork in the hope it could lead to a breakthrough in the search for the boy, originally from Sheffield.

Ms Moss is no stranger to using her artwork for good causes, having previously raised money for her friend's IVF treatment and for the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough who cared for one of her own children when they were ill at a young age.

South Yorkshire Police believe Ben was killed accidentally by a digger when he went missing in 1991, however his family believe he had probably been abducted.