Canal arts project launched in Market Drayton

Artists Suzanne Byrnes-Antoney and Diana Antoney-Wattam, representatives of the Canal & River Trust and Market Drayton Community Partnership with children from Longlands Community Primary School celebrating the installation of two new murals on the Shropshire Union Canal towpath in Market Drayton. PHOTOS: CANAL & RIVER TRUST

THE Shropshire Union Canal through Market Drayton is to get a major facelift, thanks to an innovative arts project launched by Market Drayton Community Partnership and the Canal & River Trust.

Plans are in place to develop an arts and heritage trail and interpretation boards along the town centre towpath. Organisers are awaiting a grant funding application from the Big Lottery’s Awards for All scheme.

As a first stage in the major project, local artists Suzanne Byrnes-Antoney and Diana Antoney-Wattam, supported by a grant from the Shropshire Housing Group, have been working with Longlands Community Primary School and local residents to create two amazing murals which will brighten the drab concrete road bridge (Lords Bridge, no 64) carrying the A53 bypass over the waterway.

Ani Sutton, development & engagement manager with the Canal & River Trust, said: “This is an amazing project which is really going to brighten up the canal towpath through the town centre.

“The Canal & River Trust exists to help people to enjoy their local canal, love being in the fresh air and by water, whether they’re walking, jogging, cycling, angling or boating. The Shropshire Union Canal has so much to offer and the arts project is an innovative way to add an extra layer of enjoyment in celebrating the beautiful rural waterway.”

Dr Richard Priestley, chair of the Market Drayton Community Partnership, commented:  “We are delighted that the first phase of the arts and heritage trail is now established and look forward to future phases being actioned. It is very nice to be able to thank all those who participated in this work and supported us in helping to make this stretch of the canal towpath more welcoming for the benefit of boaters, walkers and visitors.“