ARTIST Gerry Halpin’s paintings have beaten more than 900 others to be chosen for a prestigious London exhibition.

And the series of contemporary pictures, from which two were accepted for the marine art exhibition, are based on sketches he made looking down on land from a plane.

For one group of work, he took a light aircraft from Barton Aerodrome to sketch over the moors at Rivington which Mr Halpin described as “a real Biggles experience — cold, draughty, noisy and thrilling at the same time!”

Mr Halpin, who has lived in Adlington all his life and has a studio in Horwich, has his work included in the exhibition this October at the Mall Galleries near Trafalgar Square.

The annual national exhibition is held by the Royal Society of Marine Artists and is recognised as the most important of its type in the UK.

Its theme is the sea and everything related to it, from beaches and creeks to harbours and boats.

Mr Halpin, the former Head of Art at Rivington and Blackrod High School who left to concentrate on his painting, is a well-known local artist.

His work led him to being elected a Member of Manchester Academy of Fine Arts and he has exhibited at galleries throughout the North-west and beyond.

He has had work on show at the London galleries before when his pictures were chosen for the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Exhibition.

Mr Halpin was also awarded an MBE for his art and his charitable work.

Mr Halpin’s views of areas in and around Rivington are already familiar to many, but his modern work in acrylics has also proved very popular.

He became fascinated by aerial views, where land and sea collide, and has created a stunning series of pictures.

The two chosen for the marine exhibition are of the Causeway, New York State and of West Wales.

Mr Halpin said: “This is my first attempt with this society so I’m particularly pleased, especially considering that most of their accepted works are in the traditional style.

“With that in mind, it is the kind of recognition that is very encouraging and being exhibited in such a prestigious gallery in the heart of the city is a double bonus.”