A SPLASH of colour has been added to Chard’s town centre, and has been warmly received by keen eyed residents.

The new art wall has gone up on the edge of Chard’s Sainbury’s car park, and features bright painting of Chard’s iconic tollhouse.

The happy new piece has been created thanks to the Chard Improvement Action Group, which was set up two years ago.

The group is run by volunteers, and has already carried out a number of projects in the town to help liven it up.

One of the committee member, Cllr Melissa Whittaker-Mather, said: “We had quite a lot of younger people and families stopping while we were doing and saying that they really liked it.

“We had members of CIAG helping us to paint it and it has come out really well.

“It has taken us about two years to get to this stage, and that has been raising funds and planning.

“It is in Bath Street and we got got permission from Pauline, whose wall it is, and she is a member of CIAG as well.”

One of the group’s fundraising methods was to sell off squares on the artwork, and Chard residents can see donors’ initials in the corner of the wall.

The wall is based off an original painting by Chard’s own Andrew Scriven.

Cllr Whittaker-Mather added: “We got permission from Andrew to use his original piece as inspiration, and our artist Katinka Stampa-Orwin has done her own spin on it.

“She lives near Yeovil and says it is the first time she has worked with a community group, and is really pleased it is one in South Somerset.”

The CIAG group is also responsible for a number of projects at the Chard Museum.

“We did the living wall structures at Chard Museum which are still doing really well, and a herb garden there too,” said Melissa.

“There seems to be a strong link to heritage in this town and so those projects have been really positive.”

The original painting was actually commissioned by retired journalist John Hawkins.

Telling the story behind the piece, he said: “I frequently come down here to visit my son Chris, who used to live in Chard but is now in Ilminster.

“Every Sunday morning I go up to Barleymows for groceries and vegetables, and these two guys are always sat by the tollhouse on a bench with a cider bottle each next to them.

“They are two brothers and thought a lot of people must have seen them up there, they are there every time, and it is a nice story.

I knew the artist, Andy, and he came along and photographed them and then painted it.

“It is a shame that the two lads didn’t make it into the new art, but it is also still great to see it on the wall.”

For more, visit the Facebook page ‘CIAG Chard Improvement Action Group’.