Generous Howard goes with the flow and supports river project

A GENEROUS Deeside artist has donated thousands of pounds from the sale of his work to a newly formed conservation group which aims to protect and promote the River Dee.

Howard Butterworth decided to produce a special collection of oil paintings of the river to raise funds to help ensure its natural beauty in years to come after "a moment of inspiration" while painting on the banks of the Dee 18 months ago.

He has now donated 30% of the sales - around 25,000 - to the River Dee Trust, following an exhibition at the Marcliffe Hotel, Aberdeen.

In total the trust, which was set up a year ago and aims to educate residents about the river's importance and protect its wildlife, received around 50,000 from the sale of the 15 paintings, dinner ticket sales, and action and raffle proceeds.

Mr Butterworth said: "It's not insignificant what they are doing and I was really delighted to be able to help.

"The whole thing (painting collection) came to me in a moment of inspiration. It was a very nice painting I was doing on a lovely midsummer day and I felt really very privileged and thought I wanted to put something back in because the River Dee is being threatened by lots of stuff, not least the new by pass."

The paintings were sold to buyers across the country and further afield, with a painting of the Bridge at Invercauld selling for 13,000. His work also attracted interest from the Queen, who bought a snow scene of the river.

Mr Butterworth said: "It was very exciting for the Queen to buy a painting form me. She is quite an art person,and is obviously interested in the River Dee."

Twelve of the pictures from the exhibition will now be used for the River Dee Trust 2008 calendar, which will be available early next year, in an effort to raise more funds for the trust.