SIXTY-year-old Jim Fairhurst is a modern-day Michelangelo, painting not the Sistine Chapel but the ceiling of Blackburn Cathedral.

And the says that the work, in the spirit of the 16th century genius who decorated the Vatican’s inner sanctum, is the ‘most satisfying’ of his 40-year career as a specialist restorer.

High on the scaffolding above the nave, Jim is bringing back to bright life details and figures, including a boss with a grimacing face complete with teeth in its centre.

Mr Fairhurst said: “This is brilliant.

“It is the most satisfying and interesting work I have done since I started aged 15.

“Just to see these wonderful details and be able to give them new life is a real privilege.”

Dean of Blackburn Christopher Armstrong said: “We have been a given a donation to do this work as part of our £1.25 million fabric restoration.

“With the Queen coming for Maundy Thursday, it seemed a good idea to get it done now.

“I have been up the scaffolding, and there is wonderful stuff up there.

“The face with teeth in the boss is in the tradition of medieval stonemasons who left such items as signatures in hidden places in cathedrals.

“Sometimes they would give gargoyles the face of the current dean.”

Mr Fairhurst works for John Lambert Historic Painting, of Walton Summit, using equipment provided by Kirk Scaffolding of Gorse Street, Blackburn.