A mural cherished by Swynnerton parishioners has been saved from the wrecking ball by the organisations delivering 19 new affordable homes in the village.
The depiction of the Virgin Mary previously took pride of place on the wall of Swynnerton RC Primary School, which closed six years ago due to dwindling pupil numbers.
The derelict site has now been transformed thanks to a new £2.2 million housing development by Stafford and Rural Homes.
Construction partner Seddon brought in skilled craftsmen to reproduce the ‘Our Lady of the Assumption’ mural after it was discovered the original was too fragile to be moved.
The new work of art will now hang in Lord Stafford’s entrance to the Catholic church in the village, much to the delight of the local community.
Ian Calder, Regional Manager of Seddon, said:
“It was a privilege to be part of the mission to save the mural, it was incredibly important to the parishioners that if the original could not be saved, then a replica should be produced.”
Workers spent hours photographing the original mural, while a specialist company painstakingly reproduced the high resolution images on ceramic tiles.
Borough Councillor Stan Highfield was instrumental in saving the mural, having raised its importance in a consultation meeting at the beginning of the year. He said:
“The plaque is now in its rightful place – in the church for everyone to see.
The community is delighted that it could be saved using this ingenious method – it’s brilliant. It’s also thanks to Lord Stafford that it has a prominent place in his private entrance to the church.”
Stafford and Rural Homes, its development partner Housing Plus and Seddon worked closely with local councillors and Rev Fr Paul Chavasse to find a suitable new home for the mural.
Rev Fr Paul Chavasse, of the Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Swynnerton, said:
“Thanks to the generosity of Seddon, we have been able to preserve the beautiful mural of Our Lady. It will now serve as a precious reminder of the pupils and teachers who graced the corridors of Swynnerton RC Primary School over so many happy years.”
The new homes – a mix of 19 bungalows and apartments – are predominantly for older people which will encourage downsizing and will release family housing within the parish to ensure that Swynnerton remains a vibrant and thriving place to live in the future.
Chris Poulton, Director of Asset Management and Development at Stafford and Rural Homes, said:
“This is another landmark development for Stafford and Rural Homes that is helping to breathe new life into our communities.
It has been a pleasure to have been able to work closely with Seddon and local councillors on this project, which has not only seen the construction of much-needed affordable homes in the village, but also helped to preserve a piece of Swynnerton’s history.
Hopefully both will continue to benefit and delight the community for many years to come.”
The development of the homes was supported with £240,000 of funding from the Homes and Communities Agency and is part of Stafford and Rural Homes larger Development and Strategic Investment plan which will see 300 new homes built by 2018 at a cost of £32 million.