Workington’s historic bus station was a scene of celebration as local schoolchildren saw their colourful murals installed on the walls.
Thirteen pupils from Victoria Junior School visited the station on Monday where they were photographed and filmed for local press and TV in front of their murals – which are placed high on the bus station walls – with the help of an open-topped double-decker bus.
Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire, which commissioned and funded the artworks, also treated them to an open-topped trip around Workington in glorious sunshine, followed by cakes and treats.
“I’m really proud of it,” said Kian (CRRCT) Dunstan, nine, who was one of the artists. “We were really excited to do it.”
“My favourite bit was when you start painting it, and then you see it all come together,” said Lacie Grayson, nine. “I was really surprised to actually see it. I”m very proud.”
Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire Managing Director Mark Whitelocks, who attended the unveiling along with Allerdale’s mayor, said:
“The murals look fantastic. Workington bus station was opened in 1926 and it was Great Britain’s first purpose-built covered bus station.
“It is important we look after places like this for our customers, and the community.
“Hundreds of thousands of people come through this bus station often sheltering from the wet and the rain and it”s important that it is an enjoyable place to stand and wait.
“And the fact we”ve been able to involve the pupils of Victoria Junior School is wonderful.”
Stagecoach has also redecorated the bus station, with new lighting due to be added soon.
The children, working with the help of Carlisle artist Abby Kilfedder, produced eight large canvases depicting the local places you can visit from the bus station including Carlisle, Keswick, Cockermouth and Workington town itself.
Victoria Junior School headteacher Pauline Robertson said: “It was fantastic of Stagecoach to give the children this opportunity to work with an artist. They got lots and lots from it. They will look back on this for the rest of their lives.”
Hilary Harrington, Mayor of Allerdale, said the local detail in the murals is remarkable. “I know these places and the pictures are ingenious. It”s a step towards encouraging children to be part of their community.”
The artist who worked with the children, Abby Kilfedder, is a former teacher from William Howard School in Brampton. She runs Artscool, helping local school children with arts projects.
She said: “The children absolutely loved it. All these little conversations were going on about their memories of visiting these places – such as getting your chips pinched by seagulls. There was real ownership and pride in their work.”
The pupils worked for four days creating the pictures.
“I showed them a few artists they could take inspiration from and they liked Mackenzie Thorpe who does Yorkshire landscapes. And they also liked David Hockney,” said Abby.
“We decided not to let reality get in the way too much when it came to colour, to cheer people up.
“The more you look at them the more you will find little details in there.”