CLEANERS, farmers, truckers and children's centre bosses all feature in a new collection of artwork featuring the pandemic's unsung heroes ­— created by a Blackburn cook.

Fine art graduate Michelle Clayton decided to put her degree and creativity to use with a project to bring together artists and poets highlighting the individuals whose unheralded work throughout the pandemic helped keep life moving.

The cook at Highercroft Children Centre came up with the idea for her ‘Covid-19 Unsung Heroes’ artwork project after seeing the portraits of NHS staff and joining in the nation clapping for them.

She began painting a single portrait of a local farmer but it soon turned into a collection of creative pieces featuring different people who have gone above and beyond to keep essential places and services open.

Council worker Michelle, who is hoping to organise an exhibition of the work in Blackburn town centre later this year, said: "I wanted to celebrate the local authority staff who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic.

"The best thing about this project is that it shows how much people bring to their roles and the people that go above and beyond. I think they need to be recognised.

"Since completing my fine art degree five years ago, I rarely had time for painting but this project allowed me to get back into art again and create something inspiring.

"This project is so special because it highlights the people who are so important within our community - like bin men, cleaners, cooks, family support workers, farmers getting the milk, and truck drivers. It reminds us that not all heroes wear capes and are just normal people doing their job every day.

"They are the people we’re not clapping about and aren’t on the news but they all deserve to be recognised.

"At the moment I am still collecting art works in and creating art. I am after a venue to show all art work in September in Blackburn town centre."

The project is made up of artwork by Michelle Clayton, Jodi Dee Web, Anne Clayton, and Jessica Green and poetry by Lee Warring, Deborah Howard and Irene McConnell-Berry,