A WOMAN who spruced up the alley outside her home with a colourful mural has won an award in an art competition.

Vicky McLeish 'could be the next Banksy of Blackburn' after bringing some brightness to the back alley near her home, which saw her win the ‘Just for Fun’ prize at the Paint the Town presentation night, organised by The Bureau Centre for the Arts and supported by Blackburn BID.

The BT connections advisor, assisted by daughter Charlotte, transformed their garden wall in Rockcliffe Street near Grimshaw Park into a bee mural – complete with flowers and foliage.

Vicky said: “The pandemic has just been work, home, work, home, work, home.

“While putting the bins out each week, I was sick at looking at the boring alleyway full of rubbish and knew something needed to change.

“We took it upon ourselves to get the back alley cleaned, move the flytipping and clean it all up.”

Once the alley was litter-free, Vicky and Charlotte decided to paint a mural on the wall as their entry for Paint The Town, managing to complete the work in a single day.

Vicky added: ‘Now I just want to go bonkers and paint everywhere. Maybe I will be the next Banksy of Blackburn. Next I’ll be painting my neighbour Bob’s wall. I think it really brightens up the area.”

Former engineer Steve Crowther also won a Paint The Town award. He was inspired to start painting full time after a heart attack four years ago.

His entry in this year’s competition captures the stunning buildings in Sudell Cross.

Steve, from Clayton-le-Moors, said: “Art was a hobby then four years ago I had a heart attack. Almost overnight all the work I had went because I did a lot of driving – but I wanted to turn a negative into a positive. So, for the last four years I have been making a go of my art.

“It was a life changing event, but I wanted to make the best of it. After my heart attack painting was a way of relaxing. I needed to do something to stop myself worrying over if it would happen again.”

This year Steve, who won last year’s digital entry in the event, showcased a new technique he has been working on for a while, blending two colours using watercolours.

Earlier this year the former technology teacher who has his own studio at the Haworth Art Gallery held an online workshop for budding artists to learn more about urban sketching.

During lockdown Steve created 150 sketches in 100 days and even published a book documenting the pandemic in pictures.