Residents in Fenland town reunite amid coronavirus pandemic by creating their own ‘caterpillar’
PUBLISHED: 16:56 16 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:56 16 July 2020
Residents in a Fenland town have been spreading positivity throughout the coronavirus pandemic in a rather different way.
Children and adults have been finding, decorating and placing stones to form what is known as the ‘Chatteris Caterpillar’ at the town’s Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul.
A range of decorations were on offer, some painted in the colours of the NHS to recognise workers battling the pandemic, while others resemble the form of a ladybird or rainbow.
The idea came after resident Jessica Brocklebank, who has helped families in the town keep occupied during lockdown by encouraging them to decorate their windows to weekly themes, saw an idea on social media about creating a snake from rocks.
“We ended up doing a theme every week for 12 weeks and decorating windows to that theme,” Jessica said.
“I saw on Facebook someone was doing a snake with the rocks. I do a lot of nature with kids and they have a lot of things about snakes, so to be different, we did a caterpillar. Everyone added stones and it grew.”
Jessica approached the Rev Canon Wendy Thomson, vicar of the parish church, to see if stones could be placed there as a way of bringing the local community together.
Since May 18, there have been nearly 500 stones ranging from the size of a 50p coin to a large fist planted.
“It’s something to bring residents in Chatteris of all ages in the community together in a positive way,” Wendy said.
“People were isolated and it made a sense of connection. There is so much variety and reflects the fact that people are being connected.”
Jessica, who is also encouraging children to create fairy gardens on St James Close, said the caterpillar defied expectations and is thinking about going one step further.
“In the first few weeks, we had 50 to 80 houses sign up, so I thought if we get a proportion of them, that could work,” she said.
“I think some people bought bags of stones for gardens, pots and beds. Some found them on walks, some took them off their driveways.
“It was growing bigger than expected, but I knew it was popular because families had nothing else to do apart from schoolwork.
“People have asked if we can concrete it into a path. I think this would be a nice idea to remember this time.
“I knew it could grow that big, but it has reunited the community.”
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