A First World War commemorative community mural was unveiled in the Vancouver Quarter yesterday (Tuesday, July 22) with shoppers, families and workers in the town being encouraged to stick thousands of poppies onto it.
West Norfolk mayor Barry Ayres placed the first poppy on the 10m long mural in front of invited guests, media and members of the King’s Lynn branch of the Royal British Legion at 3.30pm. He was followed by mayoress Christine, KLFM presenter Simon Rowe and two-year-old Gaywood resident Elodie Blackmore in placing poppies on the scene.
The mural is housed in the former Granite Outdoors shop, opposite Wilkinson and Argos and next to Costa Coffee, in New Conduit Street. Members of the Royal British Legion’s King’s Lynn branch will voluntarily man the store between 9.30am and 4pm every day leading up to the anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.
The Vancouver Quarter worked in collaboration with both the town’s branch of the Royal British Legion and the College of West Anglia to create the mural which depicts a First World War battlefield at dusk.
Abbie Panks, Vancouver Quarter Centre Manager, said: “We were really keen to do something to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War because it is so important the memory of those who fought and died for our freedom continues to live on and is passed on from generation to generations.
“We came up with the mural idea and it grew from there. We pitched it to members of the King’s Lynn branch of the Royal British Legion who were extremely supportive of what we wanted to do and then we started talking to the College of West Anglia who we can’t thank enough for their hard work”
She added: “There are thousands of poppies available to stick on the mural and it would be wonderful if we are able to completely cover it before August 4. I would urge anyone, particularly families, who are in King’s Lynn over the next couple of weeks to have a look at the mural, make a donation to the Royal British Legion and stick a poppy.”
College of West Anglia photography student Lewis Bond designed the mural, under the guidance of photography course director Emily Paxton. The 21 year old, who lives in Downham Market, said he was delighted to see his work on display and thrilled by the comments he received from members of the Royal British Legion. “Everyone at the unveiling told me how brilliant it looked and how much they think the public will enjoy the interactive side of the piece,” he said. “Both the mayor and mayoress said the mural gets the message across as to what the poppies and the anniversary are all about.”
Asked if he was looking forward to seeing his work covered in poppies, he replied. “Of course – that’s what it’s made for. It brings me great joy to think that people will be placing poppies on my work to pay their respects. “
He added: “When I was researching the First World War for this piece, it really hit home what happened and how many people were so brave to stand up and fight. It’s so important for projects like this to happen because it is our responsibility to educate the next generation of those we have lost and to make sure that every single life taken will never be forgotten.”
Hunstanton’s hugely popular Lifestyles Festival returns this year from 19-21 September after a one-year absence.
The free event, staffed by volunteers, draws more than 12,000 festival goers to the West Norfolk coast, and showcases activities such as kitesurfing, parkour, live music, BMXing, plus the ever-popular Volkswagen show.
Lifestyles has been running since 2005, but last year the event had to be cancelled because of funding and management problems. But with a new management team on board, festival goers voting with their wallets by helping raise more than £20,000 through a public fundraising campaign, and a new headline sponsor in Highline Extreme – Lifestyles looks set to be back with a bang.
In addition to the usual activities and musical entertainments, this year’s Lifestyles will feature the work of local street artists – with an appropriately Lifestyles-friendly artwork up for grabs in a fundraising auction. Lifestyles’ arts co-ordinator is Ruddy Muddy who achieved national media coverage for his ‘grafilthy’ artwork, designs drawn in the dirt on the side of muddy vehicles, has offered up one of his pieces in a bid to further help the Lifestyles cause.
The artwork features internationally-renowned, Guinness World Record holding BMX freestyler Matti Hemmings, whose work has been used by organisations such as Adidas, Disney and MTV, he also rode with the Olympic relay in 2012 and came to launch the Lifestyles appeal in March of this year, showcasing tricks to young riders at the Shed Skatepark in King’s Lynn in a bid to raise awareness of the cause. People
can bid on the auction by visiting www.lifestylesfestival.co.uk.
Lifestyles chairman Liz Pendleton said she hoped the auction would be popular as it featured something so relevant to the thinking of the Festival and its attendees. “Lifestyles is something really different, and that’s why we wanted to save the event,” she explained. “Ruddy Muddy’s way of working, is really different too – in tune with our audience, so we all hope there’ll be plenty of bidders.”
Extreme climbing, free running, BMXing and skateboarding are all on offer, both as spectator sports and for newcomers wanting to have a try or learn more. Festival goers will also be able to watch local and national kitesurfers show off their incredible skills and begin their kite career with free have-a-go power kiting sessions.
In addition to public funding, support has also come from groups and organisations including the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk which has given permission to use its land for free, and will be providing resort staff to assist the volunteers during Lifestyles. Backing has also come from headline sponsors Highline Extreme, Lingo Design, Hunstanton Watersports, Chicago’s, Barking Dog Media, New IT and Park Resorts, but the Festival is always happy to talk to potential new backers.
The event’s popularity brings a huge influx of visitors to Hunstanton, and for that reason Lifestyles 2014 will not be able to offer public camping facilities but Miss Pendleton said the festival is offering campervan and caravan spaces at the town’s Manor Park. “Having last year off allowed us to reassess some things, and this is one decision we were forced to make,” she said. “But Hunstanton and the surrounding area has so many great places to stay, I’m sure festival goers from out of town will be able to find somewhere – and if that helps the local economy as well, then it’s got to be good news for everybody.”
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