Sometimes you start doing something and you think “s*** why did I do this!?!”

It was my feeling the first morning we started painting Bensham Manor and Gillet Road footbridge. A pile of vomit greeted us in the middle of the bridge where we were suppose to paint. It was raining and even though it was 12th June, the temperature was below 12 degrees. It was windy and the oil based paint dripped and got blown everywhere. 

The footbridge connects the 2 wards of Thornton Heath and has been a hot spot full of fly tipping, dog waste, occasionally human waste, broken glass, needles and rude graffiti. Many children use this bridge to go to Ecclesbourne and Whitehorse Manor primary school and it was a disgrace. We couldn’t put up with it anymore so I asked my friend Marley “will you do it with me” and to my surprise she said “yes” (She kind of regretted it later on but well, it was too late).

We asked for funding from Thornton Heath Community Action Team and asked the Anti-graffiti team from Croydon Council to jet wash the bridge before we painted it. During the 2 weeks painting, we had amazing support from local residents. Many of them I had never met before. Some dropped by and gave us boxes of chocolate. Some walked passed, saw us hard at work and decided to come back later and help us. 

I was nearly in tears and gave Graham big hugs as he had spent a full day in the cold scrubbing and painting. After 2 days helping me, my son and my husband were very pleased when I said this would be my last mural project ever (It isn’t). Marley nearly unfriended and blocked me (luckily I know where she lives so she can’t run away from me… yet). Artist Vikoi spent more than a day helping me sketch and outlin the artworks. Chetna, Gaetane, Linda… and many more people came to lend a hand.

This is the worst pay job – £0 but the most rewarding and the best mural I have painted this year – 2019. I think for many years to come I will still remember this project and I hope the children enjoy their walk to school every morning now. Rain or shine.

I am always bursting with ideas and don’t like sitting still so if you know any mural opportunity, please drop me a line: share@freeart.org.uk