DESPITE having countless honours to his name, artist Ashley Jackson is still in disbelief at receiving what he believes to be the ‘greatest award’ of his life.

The world-famous watercolourist won the first ever Sir Michael Parkinson Special Recognition Award at last week’s Proud of Barnsley awards for his decades of work painting Yorkshire landscapes.

The final award presented on the night, Ashley had no idea what he was in for when arriving having been tricked into believing he would be the one presenting an award.

He told the Chronicle: “I was told two weeks before that I was going to be giving an award to Millie Johnson but that I had to keep it quiet.

“I did just that I’d even brought a speech in to read for Millie.

“When everyone got on stage and was saying ‘Ashley Jackson this’ and ‘Ashley Jackson that’ I thought they were just pre-empting the award, in case anyone in Barnsley didn’t know me.

“I only twigged when the video of my friend Tony Christie came on.”

Getting his start in Barnsley, Ashley has become an international figure, hosting his own TV show in the 90s and getting to present an original watercolour to President Bill Clinton

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Yet the award last Friday was particularly special, and Ashley is now presenting his trophy for all to see at his gallery at Holmfirth.

“I’ve had lots of awards throughout my life, but the greatest award ever is from Barnsley,” Ashley added.

“It’s superb, I can’t believe it I still have to pinch myself.

“Never in 100 years did I think I’d get this, I’m chuffed.

“I’d like to say thank you to all the people in Barnsley I’ll cherish this until the end of my days.”