On yet another a glorious day at the end of the school holidays more than a hundred people, aged from 8 to 80, from Wheathampstead, Herts, turned out in festive spirit to change a sad building site into a wonderful heritage statement facing those arriving in the village.
?The community was devastated when The Swan, a Grade II listed pub in the centre of the village, was burnt to its rafters in late July. In response, St Helen’s Parish Church has led a community-based project to paint a mural to cover the security hoardings which surround the site. The brainchild of the Rector, the Rev. Richard Banham, a dozen panels feature famous ‘Locals painted by by Locals, for the Local?. They include ancient British warrior chief Cassivellaunus, Abbott John of Wheathampstead, John Bunyan, The ?Wicked Lady? and George Bernard Shaw among others.
?Local artist Nick Schon, produced the original artwork, and was on hand to brief and to oversee the start of ?Painting Day?. Nick is best known as one of the two illustrators of the Oxford Reading Tree books featuring Biff, Chip and Kipper which are used by children all over the country as they learn to read.
?Richard says: ?We wanted something good to come out of this for our wonderful local community. And it has!?
?Once The Swan is restored, and the hoardings are ready to come down, the murals will be removed and used as a resource around the village which has recently developed an excellent Heritage Trail.