Artists and visitors from all over the UK descended on Longridge recently for a fun-filled day of art, craft and pottery. Photography: Sarah Valentine

Create Longridge was held for the fourth year this month with a record number of entries, which saw 91 artists take to the streets, cafes, shops and fields to complete a brand new artwork from scratch on one day.

The event now attracts entries from all over the country and this year participants came from Hampshire, London, Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Merseyside, Cheshire, Manchester, Northamptonshire, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Cumbria and, of course, from all over Lancashire. At the end of a sun-filled day, Londoner Andrew Horrod scooped the £2000 first prize with a stunning painting of Derby Road in the town.

Lancashire artists David Youds and Janet Mayled finished second and third respectively. The three prize-winning paintings are sponsored by local businesses, which get to keep the painting as part of their sponsorship package. First prize sponsor this year was Raymond James Investment Services on Berry Lane.

Create Longridge is about much more than an art competition though. Nearly 200 children and adults participated in creative activities throughout the day including art classes, pottery, woodcraft, urban art, textile work and painting a mural of David Bowie at Future Sound Music studios. And if visitors photographed an artist in action, they could enter a competition organised by one of the sponsors, Hoppy Days Micropub.

But the big winner on the day was Longridge itself. The atmosphere was incredible and the streets were thronged with residents and visitors. No hotel rooms were available on the Friday before the painting day as artists and visitors booked rooms to be close to the action. Cromwells café on Berry Lane was unable to open the following day as it had completely sold out of everything! It was not uncommon to have to wait an hour for lunch with no tables available at peak time. The library had four times its usual footfall, a vital marketing opportunity to explain its services, particularly to Longridge residents. Longridge received huge amounts of positive publicity in the regional press, on BBC radio and across every social media platform.

The town was able to present itself as forward-thinking, interesting place to live, work and do business.

So a huge thank you to the entire Create Longridge team who give their time, experience and energy freely for the good of everyone. Thank you to the artists who brought their creativity in abundance and to the sponsors without whose support the event would not be possible. Finally, thank~
you to the hundreds of residents and visitors who came to support the event on the day and to the exhibition of paintings at Longridge Gallery that followed.



Tedd Walmsley

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