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A flash of mermaid tail offers a tantalising glimpse of Wirral’s new sculpture trail

This is the most we can show of New Brighton’s latest and most glamorous resident.

A tantalising glimpse of mermaid tail offers a sneak preview of the fibreglass statues that will form part of New Brighton Mermaid Trail.

New Brighton Coastal Community Team formally signed off the mermaid sculpture this week for casting.  The statues will be delivered to the schools and groups who will be decorating them next month, ready for the official unveiling in May.

The mermaids will be placed around New Brighton, inspired by and celebrating the resort’s history, heritage, and its links with the mythical ‘Black Rock Mermaid’, who was said to have appeared to a local sailor in New Brighton in the 18th century.

Schools and arts-based groups from across Wirral (below) will be decorating the six identical sculptures, the work of Wallasey artist Barry Canning-Eaton, who will also decorate one of the statues:

  • The Mosslands School, Wallasey
  • Wirral Hospitals’ School, Claughton
  • St George’s Primary School, Wallasey
  • St Mary’s Catholic College, Wallasey
  • Ebb & Flow, a community interest company which works with communities, including New Brighton.

Cllr Tony Jones, Wirral Council’s Pledge Champion for building a vibrant tourism economy and Chair of New Brighton Coastal Community Team (NBCCT), said: “It will be difficult keeping these fantastic designs a secret and we’re all looking forward to seeing the final designs in May.”

The Mermaid Trail project is the result of a successful bid for funding by New Brighton Coastal Community Team to the Burbo Bank Extension Community Fund, a grant scheme set up by DONG Energy to benefit voluntary groups and organisations located near to the coastline where it is carrying out the extension to the offshore wind farm.

Who was the Black Rock Mermaid?

As well as being seen around Black Rock, the legendary mermaid was also reputedly sighted near Leasowe Castle, along the stretch of sands called Mockbeggar Wharf and on boulders that are now known as the Mermaid Stones.

The legend took hold when a Liverpool sailor, John Robinson, met her when she came on board his ship after a storm killed the other members of his crew. By being the first to speak, and by taking her comb and girdle, he had the power to ask a wish of her. In return for his promise that he would see her again the following Friday, she gave him a compass that would allow him to return to shore: he agreed, and she kept her word.

When the time came for him to meet her again she was the one who spoke first, thus gaining power over him: she bewitched him with her singing, took back the compass and put her ring on his finger, saying she would soon see him once again. This time, however, when he returned to his home, he fell ill and died five days later.

More about this story

  • New Brighton Coastal Community Team (NBCCT) is a partnership consisting of local voluntary and community/residents’ groups and facilities; local traders; events venues, museum and attractions, local branch of a national charity and Wirral Council. The team will oversee the project, ensuring its sustainability and building upon it to promote New Brighton and its tourism offer.NBCCT and the designer will work with local groups/schools, ensuring that this project is ‘owned’ by and belongs to the community.
  • DONG Energy (NASDAQ OMX: DENERG) is one of the leading energy groups in Northern Europe, headquartered in Denmark. Around 6,700 ambitious employees, including over 700 in the UK, are engaged in developing, constructing and operating offshore wind farms; generating power and heat from our power stations; providing energy to residential and business customers on a daily basis; and producing oil and gas. Group revenue was DKK 71bn (EUR 9.5bn) in 2015. For further information, see www.dongenergy.co.uk or follow us @DONGEnergyUK on Twitter
  • The Burbo Bank Extension offshore wind farm will be located in Liverpool bay, at the entrance to the River Mersey. Onshore construction began in 2015 and offshore construction began earlier this year [2016]. Once completed in the first half of 2017 the offshore wind farm will have a total capacity of 258MW, enough to power over 230,000 homes. For further information, please see: www.burbobankextension.co.uk.
  • The Burbo Bank Extension Community Fund supports community and environmental projects along the North Wales and English coast, off the Irish Sea, within a defined area. Approximately £225,000 is available each year. The Fund is split equally between two annual funding rounds. There are two levels of grants available: Small grants between £500 and £5,000 and main grants between £5,001 and £25,000. Applications to the Fund are made using an online application system via the GrantScape website www.grantscape.org.uk
  • GrantScape is a grant-making charity committed to enhancing the environment and strengthening local communities through its grant programmes. GrantScape’s experience stretches back to 1997 and it has awarded grants totalling over £80 million to deserving projects over this time. GrantScape manages a range of community and environmental grant programmes on behalf of corporate and local authority clients. These are tailored to their individual requirements, which is the charity’s speciality. In addition, GrantScape offers a professional project management and grant process review service to groups requiring support with these activities.