Woman tracks down Stephen Graham to show him a portrait she made

A woman was left feeling starstruck after she met Stephen Graham during filming in Maghull.

Gillian Cowley managed to track the star down last week, and asked him to sign an amazing portrait she had painted of him.

Gillian, who is originally from Kirkby and now lives in Maghull, said Stephen lived on the same street as her family growing up.

She decided to paint him as part of her Scouse celebrity project, with the painting having previously featured in an exhibition at Kirkby Art Gallery.

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Gillian's sister, Alison, shared details of the artwork in a community group on Facebook in the hope someone would be able to put them in touch with Stephen to sign it.

Thanks to the "power of social media," Gillian and Alison, 43, met Stephen on Tuesday and they posed for a picture together.

Stephen Graham signing Gillian's portait of him

Gillian, 60, told the ECHO: "I grew up in Kirkby and I've got a younger brother and sister.

"Stephen used to be friends with my brother Lee growing up and my sister Alison remembers him.

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"When my sister heard he was in Maghull she said 'let's see if we can get in touch with him'.

"I think someone put her in touch with his wife and his wife got in touch with Alison.

"We went along and he was expecting us. He was in make-up at the time, he was lovely."

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Stephen is in Merseyside filming for a new Channel 4 film 'Help' starring Jodie Comer.

Based in a fictional Liverpool care home, 'Help' tells the story of the relationship between a young care home worker, played by Jodie, and a patient, played by Stephen, whose lives are changed forever by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gillian said Stephen was impressed with the portrait, which he had previously seen in an exhibition at Kirkby Art Gallery, where she teaches and volunteers.

Gillian said: "He was made up with the artwork, he thought it was really impressive.

"He said he'd seen the painting before at an exhibition in Kirkby Art Gallery and he thought it was really good.

"He asked me why I did it and I said I wanted to celebrate Scouse celebrities and north west based celebrities.

"He remembered Alison so they had a little chat. I think we were both a little bit starstruck to be honest, it felt a bit surreal.

"He said my next one should be Jodie Comer and he'll get her to sign it."

Gillian pictured with her artwork at Kirkby Art Gallery

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Gillian has painted a number of local celebrities as part of her project, including Ricky Tomlinson, Ken Dodd, Willy Russell and most recently John Lennon.

She has met some of these celebs and has won a number of awards for her artwork, including the Knowsley Open, the Lancashire Open and the Sefton Open.

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