WARRINGTON Museum and Art Gallery is staying open late today, Friday, to give visitors a last chance to see an extensive collection of work by Eric Tucker.

Art lovers from across the UK have been travelling to the town centre over the past three months to admire paintings and sketches by the former boxer and retired building labourer who was dubbed Warrington's 'secret Lowry'.

Eric's family were astonished to find around 370 paintings and thousands of drawings at his end-of-terrace house in King George Crescent when his health began to deteriorate.

Warrington Guardian:

He told his younger brother Tony that his one regret was never having an exhibition in his hometown.

Eric sadly died in July 2018, aged 86, but his family fulfilled his wish when Eric Tucker: The Unseen Artist opened at Warrington and Museum and Art Gallery in November.

It has become one of gallery's most successful exhibitions to date, attracting an estimated 15,000 people.

Warrington Guardian:

As well as offering a window on how Warrington has changed over the years with Eric's scenes covering almost seven decades, the exhibition also features information about his life and even recreates Eric's living room put together using reference photographs and items borrowed from his family.

Leah Biddle, cultural manager for Culture Warrington, has been astounded by the success of the exhibition and is eager to give as many people as possible the chance to see the work one last time.

The former Bridgewater High School student said: “Eric’s story is one that has inspired people from far and wide so we always expected that this exhibition would be a success.

Warrington Guardian:

“However, we have been truly blown away by the wonderful comments from visitors that have travelled the length and breadth of the UK to visit us so we wanted to give people one last chance to see this remarkable exhibition before it closes this weekend.

Warrington Museum and Art Gallery will be open between 6pm and 8pm today, Friday, and entry is free.

The exhibition closes this Sunday

Warrington Guardian:

Leah added: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to the Tucker family and to everyone who has taken this incredible story to their hearts this winter.

“We’re sad to see the exhibition go this weekend but we’re also very excited for our upcoming ventures.”

Culture Warrington has been working with the Tucker family since the pop-up exhibition at Eric’s Padgate home in October 2018 captured the nation’s hearts.

The story attracted widespread media attention, even overseas.

Warrington Guardian:

Joe Tucker, Eric's nephew, said: "The family has been completely bowled over by the response to my uncle's exhibition at Warrington Museum.

"I'm inundated with messages from visitors who've loved the show and every one has been a joy to read.

"We'd like to thank Culture Warrington and all the staff at the museum, particularly the show's curator Janice Hayes, for giving my uncle his first solo exhibition.

Warrington Guardian:

"Most of all we'd like to thank the people of Warrington. Eric loved this town and its people, and he would've been knocked out to see them turn up in droves to see his life's work.

"The show has been a huge success – as well as the large number of Warrington visitors, people have come from all over the country, we've even had some international visitors.

"The show received national press attention, including appearances on BBC Breakfast and Radio 5 Live – and even National Public Radio in the US. Not bad for a working class bloke from Warrington who left school at 14.

Warrington Guardian:

"I'd love to say we masterminded the whole thing, but in the end I have to give all credit to my late uncle. It's his work and his story which drew the press and the crowds to his hometown."

Joe also said there are 'exciting future plans' for Eric's work.

"Watch this space," he added.