The churchyard at St Mary’s in Haverhill has now taken on a bright new look after the first phase of a project that was first discussed three years ago came to fruition.
Every window alcove on the back wall of the churchyard – which is at the rear of the Gurteen’s factory – is now filled with artwork produced by 12 different schools from in and around Haverhill.
Each picture is an artistic representation of a photograph taken from the Haverhill & District Local History Group’s extensive archive and depicts elements of Haverhill’s history.
The project was the idea of Haverhill in Bloom but involved St Edmundsbury Council, Haverhill Town Council, ONE Haverhill, the local diocese, St Mary’s Church and the schools.
Becky Baldwin, an art teacher at the Castle Partnership, co-ordinated working with the 12 schools involved with the assistance of Daisy Hopkins, an art teacher at Samuel Ward Academy.
She explained how it was done: “We planned together the templates to match the windows of the church because we decided they should have something in common.
“Working with the Haverhill History Group we were given a list of 12 themes. Each window had a theme and I tried to link that theme with the locality of the school, so Burton End Primary did the Rope Walk and New Cangle the Cangle School etc.
“All the children were invited to design something but I didn’t pick a winner, I picked the ones that had a good element in them and I joined all the elements up together.”
The many different elements put forward by the schoolchildren were put together to create each piece of artwork and once they were in place 60 children were invited to colour the templates in.
The involvement of so many children represented the essence of what the Castle Partnership is about, said Mrs Baldwin, the community and their part in that.
She added: “We are really pleased with it. It’s like their legacy.”
Once the templates were designed and coloured in, the final products were made by Haverhill-based firm, Stylize Graphics.
Before the artwork could be mounted, the headstones lining the churchyard had to be recovered from the undergrowth, cleaned and re-erected along the walls. All of which was done with the help of the borough council, which has responsibility for closed churchyards.
As part of the project new Victorian style lamps have also been erected around the churchyard and CCTV is soon to be installed.
Valerie Morton, from Haverhill in Bloom, said all the section by the walls has been planted with daffodils to provide colour this winter.
The work that has been completed so far is just the first phase, added Mrs Morton, but more is to come.
“Now we look forward to raising some money for upgrading the path and putting some more benches in so that the young children and the mums can come and have a picnic here.”
The low hedge next to the church, added Mrs Morton, is also to be removed to give it a ‘better aspect.’
Haverhill in Bloom is always looking for more people to join in and Mrs Morton invited anyone interested in doing so can pop along to its next meeting at the East Town Park Visitor Centre on November 3 or call her on 01440 709090.