A DISABLED wood carver, whose work was stolen from Fort Victoria beach, has had a piece of his art accepted for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition — and the West Wight Community has started an appeal to get him there.

Two summers ago, David Wallace spent months working on an uprooted tree which featured at least 60 marine animals and wildlife, only for it to be sawn off and taken by thieves.

Now, after completing another beach artwork last summer, his pair of carved crutches have beaten 100,000 worldwide entries to make the final 1,500 exhibits.

The West Wight community had set up a collection, based at PO41 Coffee House, Yarmouth, to raise funds for David to take his artwork to London for authentication.

However, the shop is now closed and David is waiting to see if the show itself will still go ahead in June. At the moment, it has not been cancelled.

David said: "I still stunned by what's happened. The crutches were actually made around 10 years ago and mean a lot to me.

"At that time I was in a wheelchair working as a volunteer at the Riverside Centre helping to teach people how to wood carve.

"These crutches took me a total of two years to make and helped to get me walking again.

"There is a running wolf carved at the top with a Celtic Knotwork design on the back. On the front there is a plait and further down is a Wake knot named after Hereward the Wake. The handles have wingless dragons on them.

"The top of the crutches are made of pine and the rest is of iroko wood.

"I can't thank the local people enough. They contributed to help me pay the entry costs and now they are helping me to get to London.

"Although, hopefully, they will be on display at the Royal Academy if the show goes ahead, they are not for sale. They have too much history and they are legendary to me."

David's latest artwork at the front of Fort Victoria has more than 50 individual characters including a lobster, mermaid, fairy castle with two fairies, a poppy carved by a girl called Poppy and a hidden owl.