TAMWORTH’S herd of perfect porkers is now taking shape, with 15 pigs each being given their own unique identity – ready to take pride of place in the borough-wide Trotters Trail.
Schools, community groups and businesses have been busy transforming the wooden and metal structures; bringing the beautiful boars to life with bright colours, designs and illustrations representative of themselves or their town.
Inspired by the famous story of the two Tamworth breed pigs which escaped from an abattoir in Wiltshire, the replica Sandybacks will be trotted out in prime locations across the borough to create the unique Trotters Trail.
Standing on average two-foot tall by three-foot wide, the pigs and two piglets are currently in the care of community custodians who were chosen on a first come, first served basis. They are: The Herald, The Peel Society, the Heritage Society, Tamworth Lions, the Community Café, St Elizabeth’s Primary School, Stoneydelph Primary School, Dosthill Primary School, Coton Green Primary School, Thomas Barnes Primary School, Birds Bush Primary School, Two Rivers Primary School, Dosthill Rainbows and Brownies, the Sacred Heart Church YOSH youth club and the Tamworth Borough Council Arts & Events team.
The groups have been enjoying painting their porkers with the help of celebrated artist Luke Perry who created the pig structures – each with its own special characteristics and features – ready for decorating.
Luke said: “As an artist it’s been great for me to work with such creative enthusiasm from the groups and helping that to manifest itself on the final decoration of the pig.
“Every pig is so different; there has been everything from explosions of colour to monotone text pieces.
“It will be great for local people to see these popping up around the area, you certainly won’t miss them. Whether you were involved in the painting or not, it will be fantastic to see so many different identities pop up around you – in that way it’s an accurate depiction of Tamworth, full of character and variety.”
Dosthill School gave its pig a purple-themed makeover. Teaching assistant Mrs Stacey Dee said: “It’s fantastic, bringing community into school. The kids loved getting messy and it was a real benefit having Luke the professional artist in the school as we have never been able to do anything like this before.”
Reception student Isabel Williamson added: “I liked colouring the pig and want to do it again. I think Luke is very funny too!”
St Elizabeth’s School in Coton Green ran competitions to determine both the design and name of their pig, which is now affectionately called ‘Ziggy the Piggy’, thanks to a suggestion from Year 1 pupil Mario Lagario. The chosen design has been based on the winning entries from each class.
Reception teacher, Siobhan Moran, said: “It’s been great fun. The whole school has been talking about the pig and every child has been involved in the project. It’s also a great talking point for parents as the pig is situated undercover outside so they too can see the progress.
“We are really happy that we have been able to join the Trotters Trail.”
Thomas Barnes School also held a competition to decide the winning designs for each side of the pig, with drawings by Charlotte Payne and Charlie Baker selected as the stand-out illustrations.
Headteacher Kelly Williams said: “The children are all very excited and inspired. It’s a rare opportunity for us to focus on the creative side. It’s been fantastic having Luke Perry in school working with the children. It’s been an aspirational experience and it will be great to show parents what the children have achieved.”
Year 2 pupil at the school Nicole Wuitoer added: “I’ve had so much fun working on the pig; I want to do it again! Luke has shown us some painting skills.”
Once completed, the spectacular swine will be settled into their new homes to complement the town’s award-winning Britain in Bloom displays this spring and will remain on show throughout the summer.
The ambitious display of community public art is part of Tamworth Borough Council’s biggest ever arts project – I Am Tamworth – which aims to inspire people of all ages to get creative in a number of ways.
Cllr Steve Claymore, Cabinet member for Economy, said: “It’s brilliant to hear such positive feedback from the groups which have been given this great opportunity to work with a highly-skilled artist to create an exciting display of public art.
“It will also brighten up several outdoor spaces and draw people to parts of the town they may not otherwise have visited. I can’t wait to see all the finished designs in place on the Trotters Trail.”
More information about the programme of events, taster sessions and workshops taking place as part of I Am Tamworth is available at www.iamtamworth.co.uk.