Restored Morley sign faces right way after 30 years

For 30 years the residents of two neighbouring south Norfolk villages have been giving roadside directions to confused motorists bewildered as to where one village ended and the next began.

The cause of the puzzlement has been an impressive, two-sided sign welcoming visitors to Morley St Botolph and nearby Morley St Peter, near Wymondham.

But since its proud unveiling in October 1981 it has been pointing in the wrong direction causing travellers to scratch their heads and question their road maps.

Now after decades of misinformation, the sign has been painstakingly restored and turned around so it finally tells people the right way to go.

Wymondham-based artist Sandy Jones has taken months to repair the delicate fibreglass mouldings of St Botolph, a patron saint of farm workers, and St Peter, symbolised with crossed keys, by building them up a layer at a time.

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There is also a small crest depicting nearby Wymondham College and a shield bearing a horseshoe with ears of wheat, to mark the Percheron shire horses that were once bred in the area and the work of Morley agricultural research station.

She said: 'When it came to painting them, I wanted them to look as good close up as they do from a car, so there's plenty of detail. With all the care that's gone into them, they should last for a very long time before they need any more work.'

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Retired sales manager Freddy West, who lives in Morley St Botolph, repaired the rotten framework in his carpentry workshop and plans to insert a small time capsule in the sign.

'Next time round, there'll be a slice of local history waiting to be discovered, just to give a flavour of life, prices and parish business in 2011. Whoever finds it, I hope they make the time capsule a tradition and put in one of their own,' he added.

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