A North East dad is raising money a cause close to his heart with the raffle of an original painting of a lost regional landmark.

Paul Alderson painted the iconic Sycamore Gap, which he is offering as a prize in a raffle benefitting the North East Autism Society (NEAS).

Police Officer Paul, whose eldest son Alex is autistic, has been a lifelong artist and has kept painting as a hobby alongside his career.

Paul said: “I’ve always done it since I was at school, I was very much into art. I just kept painting things. When I finished school, it didn’t turn out to be a job I could go into, I tried different things and over the course of the past 15 years, I’ll get the urge now and again and I’ll pick up the brushes.”

Despite painting pets and portraits for people, which he showcases through his Instagram, Paul’s biggest source of inspiration is landscapes.

“I wanted to raise some money, so rather than sell the painting myself and have it go to someone who’ll privately display it, I wanted to keep it all North East based,” Paul said.

I knew it was going to be autism because of my son, it’s close to my heart, and I thought why don’t I just paint Sycamore Gap. It’s a sad thing that it’s gone, but that’s what prompted me to do it.

Paul was drawn to supporting NEAS with the raffle because of the charity’s work providing employment support and spreading the message of autism acceptance.

“Because Alex is talking about going into college and going further into employment, I wanted to aid him,” Paul said.

I want him to be able to get some form of employment, not necessarily with a huge financial benefit, but just to keep him socially active, and to make sure he can gain some independence.

Alex, 13, (above, right) attends a specialist academy in Gateshead and receives support there to build independent living skills alongside his education.

Paul said: “We waited to get him in the right school, and the school has brought him on massively, he’s got so many more skills and he’s just a happy little boy because of it.”

Among his other interests, Alex has also picked up some of his dad’s talent for art.

“He’s got some artistic talent, I’ve noticed it, but for some reason he likes to not show me his artwork.”

As well as hoping for a bright future for Alex, Paul added that the raffle is also a subject of regional pride.

Paul said:

I work with a lot of services through my job, so I wanted to give back to the North East specifically.

A craft beer enthusiast who initially raised awareness for the raffle through fellow enthusiasts on Instagram, Paul has partnered with the podcast Ale & Audio to host an independent draw of the winning number.

Entrants receive a ticket for every £2 donated to NEAS through Paul’s JustGiving page.

Paul said: “All they’ve got to do is send me a screenshot of their name and how much they’ve paid, if I can get that in any way, I’ll generate a number for them.”

The deadline for entries is Tuesday 14th May, and the winner will be announced on the podcast the following Friday.

To take part in the raffle, visit https://www.justgiving.com/page/paul-alderson-1713541607547 or https://www.instagram.com/the_kraken_knight_inn for more information.