Retired police constable hoping to bring international art project to streets of Norwich

A retired police constable who picked up a paintbrush when he left the beat over 20 years ago wants to bring an international art project to the streets of Norwich.

John Poole, 54, was inspired by the project, Urban Sketch, which invites people in a city to meet up and to draw their chosen urban surroundings, before sharing their creations on the project's blog.

The online sketching community currently spans from London, to Israel, to Texas, Japan, Paris, Portugal, and Indonesia, and this Sunday it will come to the city.

Once the group have painted, drawn or sketched different sights in the city, they take photographs of them, and upload them to the website, to become part of the skteching community.

Father of one, Mr Poole, said the meet-up that he and two other artists, Steve Appleton and Julie Bolus, have organised it to provide a space where people can try, even for the first time, drawing or painting and learn from the artists on hand, regardless of their artistic experience.

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He said: 'There are lots of art groups There are delays on the eastbound carriageway of the A47 near the Norfolk Showground this morning because of a broken-down lorry. in Norwich where you have to pay, but this is free, and it's a community of people coming together.'

Mr Poole, from Sunningdale just off Newmarket Road, returned to Norfolk in 1985 after leaving his job in the Metropolitan Police to care for his wife after she was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

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In 1990 he retired fully from Norfolk Police and learnt from scratch how to draw and paint.

Now a watercolour artist, Mr Poole said he is attracted to Urban Sketch as a community project, and plans to explore different area of the city, from Elm Hill, to the Cathedral.

He said: 'I like the idea that someone who can come along to this and just watch or have a go.'

'I learnt how to paint and draw. A lot of people say to me 'you're so lucky', but luck had nothing to do with it, it's just practice.'

And he added: 'The idea is that you don't have to sit in front of beautiful buildings. It's live art.'

The group will meet inside the Forum on Sunday at 10.30 am.

To see other Urban Sketches from around the world visit

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