LOCAL artist Gordon Dickinson was crowned a Swindon Art Hero yesterday at Oaktree Primary School in recognition of his work with young people.

The 54-year-old, from Purton, was surprised and delighted to receive the award after being nominated by Community Arts Development Officer Josie Williams.

Josie set up artist group, CAOS – Contemporary Artists of Swindon – with Gordon in 2007 in order to bring contemporary work to the wider community.

He also works with children in schools and in community groups through his project No Added Sugar.

Josie, 54, from Old Town, said: “The Swindon Arts Hero Award is for people who have made a difference to arts in Swindon.

“I nominated Gordon before Christmas for the award and I presented it to him at Oaktree Primary School where he was doing some work.

“Through No Added Sugar he has worked with children and young people all over Swindon and he has also been a great mentor to graduates and young artists and gives his time freely to help and inspire them.

“When he set it up he was the first one doing that sort of thing at the time.

“He goes into schools and into places and gets children involved in art and I think he really deserves to be recognised.”

Gordon was thrilled to receive the award.

He said: “I didn’t know a thing about it. I was at work with the children sweating over some work like a sweaty thing and I looked up and I saw Josie was there and Helen Miah.

“I thought they were there for a meeting or something I didn’t think they were there to give me an award.

“I said it was about time I got it. I was really surprised to get it, it’s great to be acknowledged for the work you do.

“I suppose I was nominated for the work I do at No Added Sugar.

“I work with young people in deprived communities and I go into schools and work with them.

“Getting involved in the arts world is almost impossible so we also give them work experience here.”

One of Gordon’s latest projects is in partnership with Swindon Council, where he is working on a large sculpture to go into a community area in Parks.

No Added Sugar was set up in 2001 to inspire people through creativity, consultation, engagement, inclusion, involvement and fun, to develop talent and celebrate art.

For more information visit www.noaddedsugar.org or call 01793 772088.