When old paving slabs were painted brightly and left around a village to spread cheer during lockdown, the area became awash with a tide of positivity.
Now, more than a year later, River Parish Council is continuing that trend, by displaying some of the unique pieces as a permanent reminder of the Covid pandemic.
Mum of two Vicky Thomas, 50, started decorating her surplus garden tiles during the Easter break in 2020 and created 35 as well as some personal commissions.
Among them were messages of hope, during what had become a dire time of isolation and fear for many grappling with strict restrictions.
They are now adorning the old River Bus Terminus after the council decided to retain some of them in exchange for a charitable donation.
Mrs Thomas said: “When all the slabs were out the parish council asked for ones that weren’t commissioned, and said they’d like to give a donation to a charity of my choice.
“At the time I was running the London Marathon for Genetics UK so I chose that and Pilgrims Hospices. They both got £1500 each.
“In the winter the council took the slabs and held them in storage and a couple of months ago they contacted me to say they’d found somewhere for them to be displayed.”
Last Saturday, May 29, the display and accompanying plaque was officially opened by Mrs Thomas, the chairman of the parish council Clive Taylor and the leader of the district council Trevor Bartlett.
Their location, at the bus terminus between Lewisham Road and Minnis Lane, is perfectly central with St Peter & St Paul’s Church on one corner, the chemist on another and it is in close proximity to River Primary and Kearsney Abbey.
Mrs Thomas said: “They are a permanent reminder of the sense of community River has.”
She had started her quirky art project after seeing the coloured rainbows in windows in the village.
She left them in public places and they quickly became a talking point until private commissions came in.
Despite the wave of support, Mrs Thomas insists she does not see herself as arty.
At the time she said: “I just use what I’ve got laying around.” This included left over emulsion from past DIY projects.
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