Mermaid Trail designers announced – but winning designs remain under wraps until statues are revealed
The Trail will be placed at strategic locations in New Brighton, inspired by and celebrating the resort’s history, heritage, and its links with the mythical ‘Black Rock Mermaid’, who was said to have appeared to a local sailor in New Brighton in the 18th century.
In an open competition, schools and arts-based groups from across Wirral were invited to submit their ideas for decorating the six identical new Mermaid sculptures, which will be installed this May in New Brighton as part of a colourful new tourist trail.
The design for the sculpture is the work of Wallasey artist Barry Canning-Eaton, who will also decorate one of the statues.
The others will be decorated by:
• The Mosslands School, Wallasey
• Wirral Hospitals’ School, Claughton
• St George’s Primary School, Wallasey
• St Mary’s Catholic College, Wallasey
• Ebb & Flow, a community interest company which works with communities, including New Brighton.
Cllr Tony Jones, Wirral Council’s Pledge Champion for building a vibrant tourism economy and Chair of New Brighton Coastal Community Team (NBCCT), said: “Given the amount of interest, it will be difficult keeping these fantastic designs a secret before the grand unveiling in May, but we want to launch the Mermaid Trail with a splash – excuse the pun!
“The winning designs are distinctive and stunning, and people will love to see them as they walk around the town. Everyone will have their favourite.
“I would like to thank everyone who took part, not just the winners, but those who submitted their designs. A lot of thought and imagination has gone in, and we appreciate everyone’s efforts.”
The five successful designs will each be credited with a plaque on their statue and the designers and sculptor will be guests of honour when the trail is officially launched.
The Mermaid Trail project is the result of a successful bid for funding by New Brighton Coastal Community Team to the Burbo Bank Extension Community Fund, a grant scheme set up by DONG Energy to benefit voluntary groups and organisations located near to the coastline where it is carrying out the extension to the offshore wind farm.
Read the reactions of the winning teams below:
St Mary’s Catholic College
“Having the opportunity to bring joy to the people of Wirral through our artwork and pay tribute to our town and stunning coastline is such an honour. We can’t wait to get started! Our theme ties in with the nautical/sea-faring culture of distant times in Wirral/ Liverpool and is also something that is relevant to today’s society.”
Angie Brady, Art Technician, St Mary’s Catholic College, (Angie completed the initial design and will be working with Jake Mchugh, Joanna Kruszynska, Jasmine Ralph, and Louise Croft to bring it to life)
Wirral Hospitals’ School
“We’re thrilled to have the chance to bring our ideas into reality. Our school is a therapeutic alternative for young people in Wirral and this creative project will help develop life skills, independence, and build self-confidence in our most vulnerable students. Our design will tell the story of the ‘Black Rock Mermaid’ in a way that provokes awareness of the sensory needs of people with anxiety and on the autistic spectrum.”
Derek Kitchin, Headteacher, Wirral Hospitals’ School
St George’s Primary School
“We are over the moon to hear that St George’s Primary School has been selected to participate in The Mermaid Trail. Our pupils will be thrilled and proud to create artwork for the enjoyment of our local community. Our mermaid will take people on a journey back in time to a dark yet glowing evening at New Brighton fairground.
Miss F Mulheirn, Class Teacher/Art Leader at St George’s Primary School
Ebb&Flow Community Interest Company
“Ebb and Flow Projects is delighted to be part of this captivating New Brighton Mermaid Trail. We can’t thank enough those concerned with sponsoring and organising this initiative, however, it’s been excruciating keeping it secret! The natural wonders and the people that we meet are the inspiration for our design. We can’t wait to get started!
Christina Condron, Director, Ebb & Flow (Community Interest Company).
The Mosslands School, Wallasey
‘Mosslands School is delighted to be contributing to this exciting and fun project, making the Wirral coastline a site of art, and bringing it in line with the region’s reputation as a growing national capital for the arts. Our idea grew naturally: we are striving to tell the story of strong young people, boys and girls, who are finding their own voice and establishing their own foothold in a very confusing and confused world.
Jo Robbins, Head of Arts, The Mosslands School