AN Ilkley-based artist has raised £8,000 for Spinal Research from a charity art exhibition hosted at her private gallery in the town.

Laura Wallace, who made the move back to her home town of Ilkley from London seven years ago to concentrate on her artistic career, opened her doors on June 15 for the charity fundraiser after being inspired by the courage and optimism of her daughter's friend at school. Fifteen-year-old Bel Young fell off a climbing frame at the age of eight and injured her spinal cord. She is now in a wheelchair and requires 24-hour assistance. Her dream is that one day she will be able to brush her hair herself and put on make-up but most of all be able to walk again. Spinal Research is the charity that hopefully will make Bel’s dream come true.

Laura auctioned one of her oil paintings as well as a hand finished canvas print and a framed floral image. She also donated 15 per cent of sales on the night to the charity. Feature pieces include paintings of the Cow & Calf, Bluebell Woods and Addingham Moorside.

Laura said of the event: “I’m delighted with the big-hearted funds raised by all the guests who attended tonight’s event. This is such a worthy charity and I’m excited to share my interpretation of our beautiful region in honour of Spinal Research."

Laura, who grew up in Ilkley attending Moorfield School, quit her job on the Harrods Interior Design Team managing a wide range of international projects and becoming one of their chief visualisers to return home to bring to life the beauty of the region with her original oil paintings. Inspired by local surroundings, Laura’s paintings have been admired nationwide with galleries in London and the North East showcasing her work, along with her collection taking pride of place locally in Harewood House.

Of moving back up North, mother of three Laura said: “'We had a lovely home, the kids were in good schools, and we had a great circle of friends. However, we both felt a strong pull home. We wanted to be closer to our families and for the children to grow up surrounded by beautiful countryside.”

Her studio is in the garden and gives her inspirational views towards Ilkley Moor. She has converted her garage into a well-stocked gift shop and office.

Laura sells locally via Harewood House as well as Erica Berry Florists and Nora’s Gifts in Ilkley. Inspired by the beauty of the Dales through the seasons, from bluebell woods to snow scenes, Laura's flower paintings are at the centre of her work.

For more information on Laura’s art visit