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Birstall wages graffiti war

Birstall CC Mural

A massive mural featuring WG Grace, Andrew Flintoff, Ricky Ponting and Paul Nixon has been painted on the walls of the Birstall Village Cricket Club pavilion in a bid to deter vandals from waging a graffiti campaign.

Club officials were at their wits end when five days after the NatWest Cricketforce weekend, their freshly painted pavilion was scrawled over by vandals wielding spray canisters.

This was not the first time the graffiti vandals had struck. Each time it happened before, Andy Corbett, the Leicestershire Club’s junior coordinator captured the damage on his digital camera and took the pictures to the local police who went into schools and matched the pictures with classroom drawings to find the culprits.

Birstall CC Mural

After the latest attack, Andy received a call from Dave Ward, a professional artist from nearby village Syston who specialises in digital artwork and murals and runs the website KolorBlindesignz.com. As well as being an accomplished graffiti artist, he had also spent a number of years working with young people and youth clubs.

Birstall Club House

“He suggested we paint the pavilion using cricket as a theme and I thought it might work. I recently won £1,000 grant from the Government’s Respect – Taking a Stand campaign and as well as buying some new wheels for the sightscreen and a Twenty20 day out for our cricket colts, I put some of it towards buying the aerosol spray and anti-vandal paint.

“People turned up to watch over the five days it took to finish and we have not had any trouble since. If it was going to be ruined, it would have been ruined by now so we think it has worked. It looks really good.”

The publicity attracted by Dave’s work has led to a number of enquiries from other sports clubs in the Leicestershire region who have been suffering repeated incidents of graffiti attack by vandals.

On June 4, Birstall Village CC plays Leicestershire in a Paul Nixon testimonial match where the Leicestershire and England wicket-keeper will be able to admire his portrait – which at eight feet tall is possibly the largest painting of himself he will ever have seen.