YARPOLE artist Clare Villar admits it was quite a gamble when she took voluntary redundancy from her role at Shropshire Council in 2014 and decided to make a go of turning her hobby into a career.

But three years later, having presented her work to the Canadian regiment where her military work is now proudly displayed, she concedes the timing was 'perfect'.

Her Rolls of Honour – painstaking calligraphy work – are now earning her a reputation both at home and abroad and she has big plans to take it further still.

The work initially came about when she was commissioned by a colonel in the Territorial Army, which her husband served in, to produce a roll of honour some years ago.

Mrs Villar, a mother-of-two, said: "Rolls of honour are very large scrolls and nearly all contain the names of deceased people from regiments.

"But he thought it would be good to have one of the current serving soldiers to say thank you. So there were about 400 names.

"It was almost resurrecting an art form and making it current rather than reflecting deceased soldiers.

"That took nine months to do. It then sat in barracks for 12 years. I was working full time so didn't think about it.

"It was spotted by the Colonel of Wessex Yeomanry – he saw it out of the blue and contacted me and asked me to do a roll of honour for his regiment in 2014."

A commission then followed from General Sir Richard Shirreff, commanding officer of the King's Royal Hussars. She completed the work in three months and was able to meet the regiment's Colonel in Chief, the Princess Royal.

Further work followed before a commission came in from Canada from the King's Own Calgary Regiment's former commanding officer, Ross Wickware, who had spotted her work online.

She said: "The Canadian one is my first overseas commission which I have been really desperately wanting to do. It's huge for me so I'm really proud of this one. It contains the names of the Calgary Regiment when it was formed right from the very first colonel right through to the current colonel.

"Visiting Canada and presenting the work really was the pinnacle of it. It was the most incredible opportunity – not only being commissioned by a Canadian regiment but also to meet other colonels. It was amazing."

Another part of her work is pet portraiture and she was commissioned by Nick Mason, Pink Floyd drummer, who wanted a portrait of his black Labrador.

She reflects: "It was a huge risk taking redundancy. I didn't know how it was going to go. Social media especially has been incredibly useful but I do have to work really hard at it. You cannot just sit there waiting for it to come to you.

"If I had known I would have taken that risk years ago but it would have been too much of a leap. It was perfect timing.

"My goal this year was to get into the Canadian military which I have done and I am so thrilled that I have achieved that. My big dream is to get my military artwork to the USA."