AN AUTISM charity based in the Wee County has been gifted a piece of work from a woodcarver which will take pride of place in its head office.

West Lothian woodcarver Billy Kerr, of Your Design Carvings in Bathgate, decided to create the carving for Scottish Autism.

The idea was sparked from a conversation with his good friend and broadcaster Stuart Cosgrove, a long-time supporter of Scottish Autism.

Billy enlisted the help of his granddaughter in making the piece before presenting it in person to the charity's CEO Dorry McLaughlin and deputy CEO Charlene Tait and the artwork will now be displayed at Scottish Autism's head office in Alloa.

He said: "The idea came from me wanting to acknowledge the wonderful work that Scottish Autism does in the community and across the country.

"I was helped with the project by my granddaughter Darcey who is eight years old – she helped me paint the plaque and did a grand job.

"She just loves learning about how things are made and comes in to help me in my workshop whenever she can.

"I took up woodcarving initially as a hobby after having a terrible accident six years ago when I fell from a roof and suffered from a traumatic brain injury.

"It meant I wasn't able to continue my job as a structural engineer, which I loved.

"After nine months in hospital and two years of rehabilitation I had the idea of doing something job-wise with wood and decided to train myself wood carving and the rest is history.

"It's my profession now and although I am still learning every day about different designs, different woods and different techniques, I am really enjoying working again.

"It was an absolute pleasure doing this piece and I hope it will be enjoyed for a very long time."

Scottish Autism chief executive Dorry McLaughlin said the piece will take “pride of place” in their head office.

Dorry said: "This was an extremely thoughtful carving made by Billy with help from his granddaughter, Darcey.

"It was humbling to meet Billy and to hear his inspiring story of becoming a woodcarver after his life-changing accident.

"Stuart Cosgrove has been a long-time supporter of our charity and we are grateful to him and Billy for thinking about us with this wood carving.

"It will take pride of place in our head office where visitors and our staff will be able to see it on a regular basis."

Autism affects an estimated 56,000 people in Scotland, or around one in 100 people.

Scottish Autism is the leading provider of autism specific services across Scotland and advocate of good autism practice.