"Ben Curtis (John Benfield Curtis 1938 - 2011) was brought up in Seaham and "emigrated" to Sunderland when he got married and had his three children, who were his pride and joy. He was a primary school teacher for 35 years.
His love of the NE featured in his lifelong love of painting.
He painted mainly local NE scenes, especially the Durham Miners Gala and Sunderland on Match Day, in watercolour and oil.
He won many art competitions and illustrated several books. He was also a talented award-winning writer and had his stories and poems broadcast on Radio 4 and published in books.
He also loved cats and very often they feature as 'extras' in his paintings".