Talented Maryport sculptor Colin Telfer has died at the age of 77.

Mr Telfer, whose large sculptures are displayed in towns and villages across Cumbria and Northern Ireland, died at his home on Furnace Road after being diagnosed with lung cancer in June last year.

His family said they had been told that his use of coal dust, iron dust, slate powder and chemicals may well have contributed to the cancer.

His wife Maud said: "He told us that despite this, he would not have changed anything. He loved what he did."

Mr Telfer, who was born at Fothergill, Flimby, was the youngest of seven children.

His father died when he was just 18 months old, leaving his mother to bring up the family.

He attended Flimby school and, upon finishing, started working at the village's Risehow Colliery.

Because of a sight problem he was not allowed underground and worked as a winding engineer.

He moved around as mines closed, working at the Solway and Lowca pits.

When the last one closed, he did a variety of jobs including window cleaning and working at the Condura Fabric factory on what is now the Thomas Armstrong Ltd site at Flimby.

He then began working in the office at the Chapel Bank steelworks until 1,000 people were made redundant.

At the age of 40, he jumped at the chance the steelworks offered to retrain.

He attended Carlisle College of Arts, originally to do a signwriting course.

When he discovered there was none he studied fine arts. He painted since he was a child and had sold paintings for pocket money as an adult.

He did not enjoy the abstract painting at college but when he took a sculpture unit both he and his tutors discovered a talent.

It kept him working until he was forced to retire at 70 because macular degeneration meant he could no longer see to work.

As well as his sculptures, Mr Telfer was in demand from local builders restoring old houses. He would make decorative coving or restore the figurines that graced the outside of these old homes.

Mr Telfer remained proud of his roots throughout his life and, while he was proud of his achievements, he never boasted.

Mrs Telfer recalled a time when they were fitting new cupboards in the kitchen.

She said: "We could not afford the wood panels, he used his paintings instead."