Explore-a-Book trail unveiled in West Norfolk towns
Officials and artists behind a new book bench trail in West Norfolk say they hope it will raise spirits as businesses re-open after the latest coronavirus lockdown.
The Explore-a-book initiative, which covers prominent and historic locations in Lynn, Hunstanton and Downham, was unveiled this week, to coincide with the latest easing of Covid rules.
And, with the stay at home order now lifted, it is hoped the trail will encourage people back into the towns as restrictions are further eased in the weeks ahead.
Duncan Hall, West Norfolk Council's assistant director of regeneration, said: "We are working hard to encourage people back into town once it is safe to do so.
"This trail is encouraging people to come out, and walk around King's Lynn, Downham and Hunstanton, to discover the benches and to learn a bit more about each area.
"Then as we move towards the next trigger for lifting restrictions we hope more people will come to see the benches and visit shops and other businesses while they do."
The council has organised the project in conjunction with Stories of Lynn, which is based in the town hall, and the Kick The Dust arts project, which aims to encourage young people to discover more about arts and heritage.
One of the artists involved in the project, Savannah Andrews, is a member of Kick The Dust and said she "really would be struggling" without the scheme.
She said: "My inspiration is to bring positivity to the towns. It's been a really hard year for everybody and it's nice to have something to make people smile.
"To be recognised as an artist is really exciting."
Seven benches, which have been supplied by Wild In Art, will be displayed on a temporary basis at sites in Lynn and Hunstanton.
But three others - one each in Lynn, Downham and Hunstanton - will remain as permanent features after they were decorated with designs from local children following a competition last month.
Designs by Betty Hill, Ciara McNulty, Chloe Drew, Casper Robinson, Daisy Holland, Jonathan Pick, Jason Holland, Calleigh Welham-Smith, Ivy Whitmore and Astrid Radanke have all been incorporated into the finished benches by Savannah and fellow artist Madeleine Eggleston.
And Madeleine said it had been "amazing" to be involved in the project.
She added: "I always enjoy doing children's illustrations. I was having a whale of a time doing what I love."
Families heading out to explore the locations where the benches have been placed are being encouraged to share their pictures on social media, using the hashtag #ExploreABookWN.
Rachael Williams, Learning and Engagement Officer for Stories of Lynn, said: "It has been a pleasure working with local artists and the Kick the Dust Group to get this project up and running and we are very pleased with the entries we received from the local community suggesting thoughts, ideas and designs for the benches."
A trail leaflet can be found online at www.storiesoflynn.co.uk/explore-a-book/