A RARE bronze cast of a Quaker who founded a British School in the 20th century has gone on display at a library in the county.

The almost 80-year-old relief cast of wealthy Quaker Thomas Richardson was unveiled at the Great Ayton Discovery Centre this week.

The cast, which was sculpted by Austrian artist Josef Heu, had been cast in 1941 in appreciation of Richardson's influence in the village.

Richardson had previously founded Great Ayton's former British School, which is now the Discovery Centre, and the Great Ayton Friends' School.

David Taylor, chairman of the Great Ayton History History Society which runs the discovery centre, said: “This is an important part of the history of the village and of Europe in the dark days of the Second World War. It is a beautiful piece of art and we felt it should be shared with villagers and visitors.”

The bronze cast's creator Josef Heu has become well known for several striking village scenes painted during his time in Great Ayton.

Mr Heu, who was born in Slovenia to Austrian parents, later marrying a Jewish partner came to the village at the beginning of the Second World War to seek safety.

According to the Great Ayton History Society, the sculptor and his family were given a home in the village, and he later died in 1953 having never returned to his home country. The Heu bronze can be viewed at Great Ayton Discovery Centre between Tuesday and Saturday from 10.30am to 5pm.