The churchyard at St Mary’s in Haverhill has taken on a bright new look after the project that was first discussed in 2014 came to fruition.
Every window alcove on the back wall of the churchyard, which is at the rear of Chauntry Mills, is now filled with artwork. Each design is an artistic representation of a photograph, taken from the Local History Group’s extensive archive, depicting elements of Haverhill’s long history.
The project was the idea of Haverhill in Bloom but involved St Edmundsbury Council, Haverhill Town Council, Haverhill & District Local History Group, ONE Haverhill, the local diocese, St Mary’s Church and 12 different schools from in and around Haverhill.
Becky Baldwin, an art teacher at the Castle Partnership, with the assistance of Daisy Hopkins, an art teacher at Samuel Ward Academy, co-ordinated working with the 12 schools involved to produce the artwork.
She explained that the templates were planned together to match the windows of the church because it was decided that they should have something in common. "Working with the Haverhill History Group we sorted 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."
The many different elements put forward by the schoolchildren were combined 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, the community and their part in that.
Mrs Baldwin 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.
Valerie Morton, from Haverhill in Bloom, said all the sections by the walls has been planted with daffodils to provide colour in the spring.