A LEADING British sculptor from the Island has won a top international arts award.

Louise Giblin, who grew up in Ventnor and was inspired to embark on a life as an artist when she was a pupil at Sandown High School, was awarded the top prize for sculpture at this year's Florence Biennale international arts festival, in Florence, Italy.

Earlier this year, the 54 year old, based in Wadhurst, East Sussex, was selected as the artist to represent the UK in the G7 of Art in Italy, of which the recent festival was a part.

Louise earned acclaim for her London 2012 Olympics inspired work — a series of unique bronze sculptures of some of Britain's most successful athletes, such as Dame Kelly Holmes, Kriss Akabusi and Sally Gunnell, as well as Bucks Fizz star, Cheryl Baker.

The Florence Biennale exhibition displayed 1,300 works by 462 artists from 70 countries, including work by Louise.

Louise, whose parents still live on the Island, said: ‘Whenever I achieve anything, I immediately ring the Island to tell my parents and thank my lucky stars I had such great teachers at Sandown."

Louise aims to return to the Island next year to run an exhibition of her work at Newport's Quay Arts.