A willow sculpture depicting The Mayflower has been planted in Harwich.
Artists Emma and Adam of Willow Phoenix were commissioned to do the piece at Harwich Green by Tendring District Council (TDC) as part of the Mayflower 400 commemorations.
This year commemorates the 400th anniversary of the sailing of The Mayflower to North America, carrying the Pilgrims, a year which will be book-ended by Illuminate Festivals in November around Thanksgiving.
Historic Harwich has a strong link to the Mayflower as home to the ship, its master Captain Christopher Jones – whose house still stands in King's Head Street – and some of its crew. For this reason, Harwich is part of the Mayflower 400 Compact, an international group of destinations linked to the story.
The artists designed the ship structure, while the local community got involved with planting at a special day supported by the Harwich Society.
Willow Phoenix artists Emma and Adam with the Harwich Society helping to plant / the finished sculpture. Picture: Maria Fowler / Harwich Society
Unlike previous willow sculptures in Harwich created by other artists, the Mayflower has been planted meaning it will grow and continue for years to come.
Alex Porter, TDC Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism, said the eye-catching sculpture would be a striking part of the visitor attraction in Harwich.
Cllr Porter said: "As a living piece of artwork, it is also something the local community can take stewardship of and be part of it growing."
Emma and Adam, of Willow Phoenix, added: "We've really enjoyed building the living willow Mayflower, and have been overwhelmed by the support and encouragement of the local businesses and residents - especially SCS Scaffolding, Homecraft Hardware, Shakers Bar and of course TDC for commissioning us.
Harwich Scouts help to create the sculpture. Picture: Willow Phoenix
"Also a big thanks goes to the Harwich Scouts and the Harwich Society Gardening Club who helped with the planting.
"We are looking forward to seeing the sculpture grow and mature, and we'll be back here for the Illuminate Festival in November 2020. Thank you, Harwich."
Colin Farnell, Harwich Society Chairman, added: "A willow Mayflower for Mayflower 2020 is a lovely idea, and the Harwich Society's Gardening Group were pleased to help with the project.
"It's a very special anniversary which can be celebrated in many different ways."
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