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Locals at the local

30 August 2013

VILLAGERS at Wheathampstead, in St Albans diocese, were devastated when their local, the Swan, was burnt to the rafters a few weeks ago: "You could feel shock waves going through the village," one said. The pub is being restored, but, as happens with building sites, the area was quickly surrounded by high black hoardings, which were daunting to those entering the village.

The Priest-in-Charge of St Helen's, the Revd Richard Banham, had the idea to cover those hoardings in a mural painted by members of the local community - which should have happened by the time this page appears. The plan is to feature 11 "Locals painted by locals for the local", including Cassivellaunus, a British chieftain who led a defence against the Romans during Caesar's second invasion, Abbot John of Wheathampstead, John Bunyan, and George Bernard Shaw.

The mural is being designed by a local artist, Nick Schon (best known as one of the illustrators for the Oxford Reading Tree books featuring Biff, Chip, and Kipper), and the drawings are to be projected on to panels for the volunteers to paint (pictured). The painted hoardings will stay up until the Swan is restored, and then the panels will be taken down to be used as a resource around the village.


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