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Gallery: Paddington comes to Peterborough in book bench trail

A new trail of BookBench sculptures, designed and painted by Peterborough school children and artists, have been installed across the city to bring literacy to life for local families.

The trail, produced by Wild in Art and led by Peterborough Reads from the National Literacy Trust, launched this week across the city. Benches appeared in the museum, Cathedral, Queensgate, Serpentine Green, the library, Key Theatre and the railway station - can you spot them all?

Over the past year, 11 local schools have worked with six artists to design the benches, taking inspiration from a wide variety of topics - outer space, chickens, Mr Men, fairy tales and the travels of Paddington Bear.

The book bench project inspired and motivated children through what has been a very difficult year for schooling.

Keyworker children from St Michael's Church School designed and created the 'Paddington comes to Peterborough' bench, while children from Dogsthorpe Infant School wanted their bench to be a reminder to "always reach for the stars!"

The trail forms part of a summer schedule of events led by the city's literacy campaign, which will include storytelling and a 'walk and talk' trail designed to develip literacy through everyday social activities and play.

Sponsors for the installations include Savills, Westone, LNER, City College Peterborough, Stagecoach, Cityfibre, Whirlpool Corporation, Serpentine Green, BGL, Buckles Solicitors, and Sage Publishing.

BookBench Trail Map Preview

Sally Atkinson, Peterborough Reads hub manager, said: “I am delighted that we are able to launch the Peterborough book bench trail.

“Reading and stories are so important for all of us. They can transport us to different worlds, make us laugh, or teach us something that we didn’t know. When you read with a child, or encourage them to read alone, you’re not just helping them to engage with the magic of stories, but you’re also helping them to learn and develop skills that will help them throughout their lives.”

Angela Wood, headteacher at Lime Academy Watergall, added: “We have been honoured to be part of the book bench initiative in Peterborough this year. Our bench is a celebration of the books that each year group have most enjoyed throughout this school year.

“As a school we promote reading for pleasure at every opportunity and this has given us another reason to talk about books and celebrate how much we enjoy them.

“Children throughout the school have helped to design and paint the bench and we are looking forward to seeing all of the benches that have been created for the trail. We hope that our bench might inspire others to pick up a book and get reading.”

The National Literacy Trust thanks the schools, artists, sponsors and cultural partners involved.