THE son of a Burnley artist is set to study at Cambridge University as part of a scholarship scheme established in honour of Winston Churchill.

And the family of American student Will Fletcher, 22, are convinced his late father, Peter, would have been proud of his prestigious achievement.

Peter Fletcher, a graduate of the Royal College of Arts, emigrated from Burnley to the US in 1978, and taught at a number of Stateside colleges before his death in 2003.

But his academic legacy lives on in Will, who has secured the chance, through the Winston Churchill Foundation, to study at Cambridge University for a year.

His mother Lisa Autio, from Misoula, Montana, said Will, who attends Pomona College, in California, had also studied maths for a year in Moscow.

Will’s grandparents, Doris and Vic Fletcher, who live in the Leamington Avenue area of Burnley, are delighted at the prospect of welcoming him back to East Lancashire.

“We are so very proud of him, and I’m sure that Peter would have been as well.

“He’ll probably come up to visit us,” said Doris.

Doris, 90, and Vic, 93, last saw Will two years ago when he took time out from his Moscow course to fly over.

Their only son Peter, a lifelong landscapes painter, started his educational career at Lionel Street school, before attending Barden High School, and then Reading University.

He left for the United States after his Royal College stint.

In his early years, he enjoyed hiking around the Pennine moorlands and, like so many before him, saw Pendle Hill as an inspiration for his artisic endeavours.

He met his wife, Lisa, in Montana and worked as an artist-in-residence at a number of elementary schools, before becoming head of art at a Wisconsin college.

Will, who will use his $50,000 award to study for a philosophy masters degree, is conducting research into the mechanics of cellular membranes and has produced a number of research papers in his field.