Much loved mural makeover

Artists Andy Morely and Barry McNabb with Councillor Rebecca Atkinson

A much-loved Roker seafront mural has been given a makeover.

The curving walls and roof of the Marine Walk Play Area were first painted to look like a whale in 2014. Now, five years later, the mural has had facelift.

Artist Andy Morley, from Creative Ginger, who worked with local school children on the original design, has completed the whale of a job in less then two weeks.

And while his plans have largely stayed faithful to the original design, he has also added some colourful new additions to the much loved pirates and other characters that originally adorned the walls, including a mermaid, a seal and dolphins.

Andy said: "Myself and my small team of artists Barry McNab and Connor McLean have enjoyed refurbishing anew the beloved mural. We took 4 characters out and added in over 20 new ones. In addition to the painting, Lewis Hanlon captured some of the new characters being painted. A time-lapse video of the work will soon be available to view on our Facebook page and also Sunderland Council's social media platforms."

The work has being funded by Sunderland City Council which commissioned the original artwork in 2014 as part of its £10m regeneration of the seafront.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration, Councillor Rebecca Atkinson, said: "I think Andy has done a fantastic job repainting the mural, it's lovely to see it looking its best again. 

"The mural went down a storm when we first commissioned it - it’s a real favourite with the children who use the play area - but it was badly in a need of a makeover because it bears the brunt of the weather down here.

"We originally decided to brighten the play area up with a mural five years ago as part of our ongoing work to regenerate the seafront. Andy did such a good job then that he was the natural choice to come back and give it a facelift.

"I gather he's had lots of positive comments from the public while he's been down on site, not to mention a few helpful suggestions from parents and their youngsters for new characters to include in the artwork.

"I especially like the fact that although he’s largely stayed faithful to the original design, there are also some colourful new additions - including a mermaid, a seal and dolphins."

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Sunderland is home of the National Glass Centre - the only UK centre celebrating the history of glass making and providing a world focus for glass. The centre reopened in 2013 after undergoing a major refurbishment.

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