Village spirit symbolised in new sign designed and built by community

Work progresses on the new sign Picture: MICHELLE STEBBENS

Work progresses on the new sign Picture: MICHELLE STEBBENS - Credit: MICHELLE STEBBENS

A village has come together to help bring its spirit to life through a new, bespoke sign.

The new sign in pride of place in Hollesley Picture: CHERYL GRAY

The new sign in pride of place in Hollesley Picture: CHERYL GRAY - Credit: Archant

It’s taken around four years for a new sign to be designed, fundraised for and crafted for the village of Hollesley.

The initial idea of creating a new sign came about in January 2016 when a call for ideas was put in the village newsletter by the parish council.

Residents were tasked with coming up with design ideas that symbolised the local community.

In the end they chose a range of images which included two traditional Suffolk Punch horses symbolising local farming and a tractor giving a nod to more modern agriculture.

The final sign is revealed Picture: CHERYL GRAY

The final sign is revealed Picture: CHERYL GRAY - Credit: Archant

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Other symbols included in the final design were a rising sun, a ship on water - a reference to the primary school’s logo - and the eight bells housed in Hollesley Church.

All the ideas were sent off to a company in Thetford who came up with the final design for the piece.

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Villagers then had to fundraise the money for the sign with £1200 coming from local residents and another £800 coming from fundraising events such as a community cafe and a concert.

With the money raised it took time for the company to start creating the central piece for the sign.

In the mean time village blacksmith Andy Stebbens set about the task of making the metal surround for the sign in his own workshop.

“Some 20 years ago I approached the parish council chairman Dennis Driver about making a sign for the village,” said Mr Stebbens.

“Most village Blacksmiths always seem to make the church gates and the village sign but with one thing and another it never got done.”

Mr Stebbens had in fact already replaced the church gates some years previously after problems with local deer, but was now retired.

“Despite being retired from my blacksmith business and now just running the caravan site, I was more than happy to help,” said Mr Stebbens.

The final piece was hand forged by Mr Stebbens and attached to a wooden pole at the base of the sign.

A brick plinth, created by local bricklayer Roy Clarke, helped to bring all the elements together.

The completed sign was unveiled to the village a few weeks ago.

READ MORE: First-time Suffolk Punch mum gives birth

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