AN artist has dedicated his current exhibition at Spennymoor Town Hall to the gallery’s former volunteer curator.

Derek Slater’s second exhibition, in the main gallery, stairs and corridor, is in memory of Bob Abley who helped set up the gallery, which opened in 2011 and was named after him when he died last year.

Mr Slater, 67, from Ferryhill, said: “At the town hall and previously at Spennymoor Settlement Bob did a lot for local art and artists so I wanted to recognise that.”

Mr Slater worked at Mainsforth Colliery from the age of 15 then as a fitter at Tursdale Works until the 1980s. He then studied fine art and became an art teacher, which he retired from two years ago.

His work is based on his experiences of coal mining and ecology, often painting dark subjects to raise awareness of man’s impact on the planet and wildlife.

He said: “I saw and learnt a lot working for the National Coal Board, down the pit and in the works so put of lot of that into my art.

“My ecology pieces have to tell a story or I feel I’ve wasted my time, people should have a reaction to it.”

The Gallery’s Robert Heslop Room hosts an exhibition by teacher Tim Sutherland whose pictures are inspired by the North and Scottish landscape.

Both autumn exhibitions run at Spennymoor Town Hall Art Gallery until Saturday, October 10.

The venue, on High Street, is open from Monday to Friday, noon to 4pm, and Saturday 10am to 2pm, and admission is free.