THE IMAGE of missing Isle of Wight teenager Damien Nettles has featured in an art exhibition.

The Unmissable Exhibition featured portraits of the missing, by renowned artists, at The Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. Damien was painted by Nicholas Todhunter.

Valerie Greenhalgh Nettles, Damien's mother, travelled more than 4,000 from her home in the USA to see the portrait.

She told the County Press: "I wasn't sure about doing this project initially. I wasn’t sure how it might turn out, so it was a bit of a gamble, however I felt it would good publicity for Damien.

"I also retired at the end of December and felt this was an opportunity for me to attend an event like this, for once, where Damien is featured.

"I had seen Damien's portrait prior to the exhibition in pictures, but seeing his face up on the wall among the other missing people was very emotional and sad. It was sad but it was also a very positive experience.

"The families came together having suffered this same loss, yet with resilience, sharing a common bond of a missing family member.

"Damien's portrait captures his exuberance and zest for life and his happy smile full of hope for his future which sadly was cut short for reasons we are still waiting to know.

"I was also very pleased to meet the artist Nicholas Todhunter."

The exhibition, which has now ended, was held to mark 25 years of the charity Missing People.

An auction of the works, and the chance to buy limited edition prints, will run until March 28.

Valerie has written a book about her loss and her son, The Boy Who Disappeared.

It will be released in September and more details can be seen on Amazon. It can be ordered in advance, for delivery on the day of release.