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School pupils decorate Eye Skate Park after it is daubed with racist graffiti




Pupils at a high school in Suffolk have decorated a nearby skate park after it was daubed with racist graffiti.

Back in April, residents were appalled to discover numerous racist slogans - including a swastika and “whites only” - were spray painted over ramps at Eye Skate Park.

Council officials promptly painted over the graffiti - but a shortage of paint meant that only they were unable to redo the entire park, leaving it looking untidy and unfinished.

Art students at Hartismere School decorated the ramps on Wednesday. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography.
Art students at Hartismere School decorated the ramps on Wednesday. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography.

In an effort to brighten up its look, a group of art students from Hartismere School were commissioned by Eye Town Council to put their own illustrations on the ramps.

On Tuesday, 16 students, between the ages of 16 and 17, were given free rein to express their creativity drawing arcade characters, pizza slices and other decorative designs on the skate park.

On hand to offer artistic advice was Paula Hayward Nicholls, head of art at Hartismere, which is in Castleton Way; and Knapple, a Norwich-based street artist who happens to be friends with one of the teachers at the school.

Eye Town Mayor Johnnie Walker, pictured in May shortly after the ramp was daubed with racist graffiti. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography.
Eye Town Mayor Johnnie Walker, pictured in May shortly after the ramp was daubed with racist graffiti. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography.

Johnnie Walker, the Mayor of Eye who was instrumental in organising the project, said he was delighted with how it turned out, and hoped it would make the skate park more attractive to youngsters in the town.

“Everyone thinks it’s fantastic,” he said.

“I looked at many skate parks around the world and looked at what they have done, and thought we needed something like that.

A well-known Norwich-based graffiti artist, Knapple, was on hand to offer artistic tips. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography.
A well-known Norwich-based graffiti artist, Knapple, was on hand to offer artistic tips. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography.

“The whole thing was to try to get the children involved. It brightens the place up and makes it more attractive.”

Whilst the council had been wanting to revamp the skate park for some time now, it was the horrific racist vandalism that ultimately sparked the initiative to add some extra life to the area.

Mayor Walker said it had worked to bring the community together following the disappointing incident in April.

“Out of this horrible thing, it’s great that something good has come from it,” he said.

“Between this and Covid, it has really brought the community together.”

The project draws parallels with the recent events in south Manchester, where a mural to England footballer Marcus Rashford was daubed with racist graffiti earlier in the week. After the graffiti was concealed the following day, people from across the country came to decorate the mural with cards and messages of support.

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