A MURAL which celebrates Port Glasgow's rich shipbuilding heritage has been unveiled in the town.

Artist Jim Strachan has created a sepia image of Lamont's Dry Dock in the town, which was the first to be built in Scotland and dated back to 1762.

He and local creative organisation Rig Arts used the latest technology to transform an original oil painting into an impressive artwork mounted on aluminium boards.

The mural has been mounted on the gable end of the Port Baths near to where the Dry Dock stood.

Retired slater Tommy Purdue, 93, who worked at the dock in the 1960s had the honour of cutting the ribbon, alongside Anne Ross, chair of Port Glasgow West Community Council.

Tommy told the Telegraph: "It's great that the Dry Dock is being remembered like this.

"Quite a lot of people worked there.

"It was hard work, but everyone knew each other."

The great-grandfather hails from the Port and served his time in the Kingston Yard.

He worked in the shipbuilding industry all his life.

Tommy said: "I worked in all the shipyards in the area, Hamilton's, Duncan's, Lamont's Ferguson's, Scotts and Klondyke.

"It's sad what has happened to shipbuilding over the years.

"I feel so proud to be here, being a Port man."

A plaque detailing the dock's history is on display next to the artwork.

The horse-drawn pumping system was designed by world-famous Greenock inventor James Watt.

Lithgow's sold the dry dock to Lamont's in 1935 and it was latterly known as Lamont's Dry Dock before it eventually closed in 1965.

The iconic new artwork was the brainchild Port Glasgow Community West Community Council.

The group was looking at ways to improve the town centre and the work has been funded through the 'community spend' budget.

Jim's original painting is now on display in the town hall.

It was photographed by local photography Steve Elliott at Art24 and a digital copy was printed on to the aluminium boards.

Karen Orr, of Rig Arts, said: "This is the first mural we've done like this.

"We used sign-making technology and turned it into art."

Artist Jim says he is 'very proud' of the work.

He said: "It's very satisfying as an artist to see your work on display.

"I was working with the community and when they saw the end result and I got all their 'oohs' and 'aahs' it made me feel that I had nailed it.

"It's the piece of art that I am most proud of, and I've done hundreds of paintings.

"There's a thing about the Port as well.

"I once taught at the Old Men's Club, I was paid for five weeks and ended up staying for eight and a half months.

"I just loved hearing their stories and how proud they were of their history."

Community councillor Anne praised Jim and all the agencies involved including Inverclyde Council and Riverside Inverclyde.

She said: "All credit must go to Jim - apart from his wonderful artistic ability he is a soul of patience and absorbed everything and everything came out in his work.

"We even have war artist Stanley Spencer in there with his sketchbook."

Invited guests at the unveiling included local councillor Jim MacLeod, who said: "The mural is fantastic, all credit to Port Glasgow West Community Council and Rig Arts.

"We need to see more of these throughout the area to flag up our local history and heritage."