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Octopus Ahoy! Artists designing colourful sculpture trail ready for summer

PUBLISHED: 19:23 07 January 2020 | UPDATED: 19:23 07 January 2020

Jonathan Benson, Thom Mitchell and Stas Anastasiades at the Octopus Ahoy! business reception in celebration of the Mayflower 400 Picture: OCTOPUS AHOY!

Jonathan Benson, Thom Mitchell and Stas Anastasiades at the Octopus Ahoy! business reception in celebration of the Mayflower 400 Picture: OCTOPUS AHOY!

Octopus Ahoy!

A trail of colourful octopus sculptures is set to arrive on the East Anglian coast this summer - as part of celebrations for the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower.

Suki Dulai from Surya Foods at the Octopus Ahoy! business reception in celebration of the Mayflower 400 Picture: OCTOPUS AHOY!Suki Dulai from Surya Foods at the Octopus Ahoy! business reception in celebration of the Mayflower 400 Picture: OCTOPUS AHOY!

So far, nearly 100 talented artists have submitted artwork for the Octopus Ahoy! trail, which will take place in Harwich, the town where the Mayflower was built, and across Tendring.

There will be around 100 sculptures in all, including 30 large 4ft figures painted by artists, as well as 70 smaller 2ft creations which will be decorated by schools and community groups.

Nicky Coates, Mike Carran, Paul Milsom, Suki Dulai, Craig Newnes, Thom Mitchell, Lauren Rozier, Katie Skingle, Jonathon Benson and Stuart Wade at the Octopus Ahoy! business reception in celebration of the Mayflower 400 Picture: OCTOPUS AHOY!Nicky Coates, Mike Carran, Paul Milsom, Suki Dulai, Craig Newnes, Thom Mitchell, Lauren Rozier, Katie Skingle, Jonathon Benson and Stuart Wade at the Octopus Ahoy! business reception in celebration of the Mayflower 400 Picture: OCTOPUS AHOY!

The trail will run for 10 weeks, from July 4 until September 12, before the large sculptures are auctioned in aid of Essex charities.

The event looks set to attract huge interest and bring hundreds of people to the area. It follows in the wake of other successful trails in East Anglia, including Elmer's Parade in Ipswich in 2019.

"20,000 Leagues" by Mik Richardson is one of the submitted designs for Octopus Ahoy! Picture: OCTOPUS AHOY!

Katie Skingle, director of KAT Marketing, which is behind the development of the octopus project, said: ""We are very fortunate to have such a breadth and depth of artistic talent to call upon in Essex for amazing community art projects, like Octopus Ahoy.

"The American interest of the Mayflower 400 will add a different artistic dimension to the designs as well as looking at the local history and sense of place which always provide projects such as this with their own heart and soul."

Picass-o-pus by Jenny Leonard is one of the submissions for the sculpture trail Picture: OCTOPUS AHOY!Picass-o-pus by Jenny Leonard is one of the submissions for the sculpture trail Picture: OCTOPUS AHOY!

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Tendring District Council and Milsoms are also developing the project, together with other partners.

Take me to the Banksy  by Alison Burchert is one of the submissions for Octopus Ahoy! Picture: OCTOPUS AHOY!Take me to the Banksy by Alison Burchert is one of the submissions for Octopus Ahoy! Picture: OCTOPUS AHOY!

KAT Marketing was also behind the Stand Tall for Giraffes event for Colchester Zoo's 50th birthday in 2013,

READ MORE - 7 sculpture trails to visit, from cows to dinosaurs

Both professional and amateur artists can send in their designs, up to the end of January.

Following the closing date, the whole portfolio of designs will be reviewed and the sponsors of the sculptures will choose which artists to commission to complete the artwork, with the successful artists being paid an honorarium of £750.

A series of celebrations and special events are being held this year to mark the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower setting sail to the New World in 1620, carrying the Pilgrim Fathers to North America.

Although the iconic ship sailed from Plymouth, it is believed to have been built in Harwich, and was registered in the town.

Its captain and part-owner, Christopher Jones, was born in Harwich and his home still stands on King's Head Street, near the waterfront.

For more details of Octopus Ahoy!, visit the event's website.


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