AN irrepressible youngster who raised more than £100,000 for charity with a worldwide art project is making his return to Firstsite gallery.

Hundreds of colourful paintings by 12-year-old Noah, which were created with artists from across the globe, were sold in a week-long eBay auction which raised an astounding £81,300.

Coupled with the £18,000 from book sales of Background Bob and his Amazing Friends and other donations, in total Noah broke through the £100,000 mark.

Now, running from Saturday until early January, the young artist will be hosting his own exhibition at Firstsite in Colchester entitled @background_bob and his amazing friends – paying homage to hip-hop legend Eminem’s hit Without Me.

It will feature even more contributing artists and more than 200 stunning artworks during the impressive exhibition.

The project began during the height of the first lockdown, when Noah, who has cerebral palsy, was unable to attend his school and started painted on cardboard as something fun to do, while stuck at his home in Dedham.

Using a signature palette of bright colours, Noah paints bold, confident abstract shapes, which collaborators are then invited to use as backgrounds for their own artworks.

When Noah and his stepfather, Nathan Jones, originally started posting their invitation to collaborate, they expected a small response.

However, they were stunned when 80 replies from eight different countries came in almost immediately.

This then grew to a remarkable 240 unique images co-created by Noah and artists from across the world, including the UK, Colombia, Sweden and Australia.

For the new exhibition, a staggering 700 artists responded to Noah and Nathan’s latest invitation, with tattooists, sculptors and fine artists, creating a broad variety of exciting new pieces for the show.

“We were absolutely delighted to hold our first exhibition at Firstsite,” Mr Jones said.

“Not only is it our local gallery, it also has great accessibility for Noah and he loves it there.

“It was really important for us to keep the exhibition in our home town, and bring a little bit of joy during those strange times we were all experiencing.

“We decided to run our project again this year due to the overwhelming number of artists who wanted to contribute.

“We had more than 700 artists come forward this time, which was a bit of a shock, but I think we’ve managed to choose a great selection of artists from a cross section of the arts.

“The art world truly is a beautiful place.”

The exhibition will again raise money for the Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals Charity, with the artworks available to bid for online after the exhibition has closed in January. There will also be a new book to purchase.