Project for Great Yarmouth Arts Festival goes swimmingly

YOUNGSTERS from across Great Yarmouth have been busy transforming bags of rubbish into a gleaming sculpture that will sit as a centrepiece to the town's first ever arts festival.

For the last six weeks children and teens have come together to make 2,000 glinting herrings out of discarded crisp packets, which will then be mounted on an eye-catching frame, and 'swim' round the entrance to the Minster.

The 15ft high shoal sculpture will be revealed to the public on September 1 - the opening day of the festival - and remain on show throughout the event's three-week run.

The School of Fish project is part of the Great Yarmouth Arts Festival and workshops to create the piece have been funded by The Mason Trust - a group that works to raise the aspirations of youngsters in Norfolk and Suffolk - and Yarmouth engineering firm Armultra, while local artist and animator Matthew Harrison has devised and led the scheme.

Hugh Sturzaker, festival chairman, said: 'This is a wonderful way of using something which is usually discarded and ends up in a landfill site. I hope that everyone connected with this project will learn the importance of recycling and will be inspired by the fact that they helped to create this work of art.'

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The recycling project aims to show how even the humble crisp packet can be given a second life and transformed into something beautiful, and it is hoped workshops will creatively inspire youngsters and demonstrate the hidden potential in things that are thrown away. So far 1,500 herrings have been made and it is hoped the final workshops, being held over the next few days, will provide the last 500.

Students from Cobholm, Hillside, Moorlands and Woodlands Primary schools have all taken part in the project, making more than 800 fish between them, and members of the Ocean Wave youth club at Peggotty Road Community Centre have also helped recycle and create herring.

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The Time and Tide Museum and the library have also held workshops for other youngsters and the Marina Centre has provided a collection point for crisp packets throughout the summer and, with support from Positive Futures, will host the final fish-making workshop on August 28.

Another workshop is being held at Market gates shopping centre tomorrow (Saturday) where youngsters and adults can make herring. Tickets for the festival will also be available to buy.

Great Yarmouth Brass will kick off the festival with a concert playing a mixture of music from West End Shows, soundtracks from the Bond films and classical music.

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