A street artist who painted a large mural in tribute to the NHS and other key workers has struck again, completing his latest graffiti work at an East Lancashire school.

Keiron ‘Curly’ Whitehead, from Darwen, painted the mural in time for pupils at St Edwards RC primary School in the town to return to lessons at the start of the autumn term.

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The colourful piece, which features local landmarks and an uplifting message, brightens up the playground, providing a fun space for the children to enjoy.

Headteacher at St Edwards RC Primary School, Vanessa Knowles, said: “The vibrant colours and artwork has really enhanced our school space.

"It's been wonderful to work with a local community artist and Crown Paints to create a wonderful mural that inspires hope for years to come."

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Mr Whitehead began collaborating with Darwen-based Crown Paints in May when he painted the end terrace house on Hollins Road, just a few yards from Crown’s HQ.

Better known as Curly, Mr Whitehead has been a graffiti artist for more than 20 years and also works full time for the NHS.

Mr Whitehead said: “I’m so proud to work alongside Crown Paints to create these two murals.

"I really hope the community enjoys the artworks as much I enjoyed creating them and I’m sure the message of gratitude for the NHS that has inspired the design will go far and wide.

“Just after we completed the first mural, a crowdfunding page was set up to raise money to support local people who had been affected by Covid-19.

"A total of £1,600 was raised within a matter of weeks and this has been donated to the local food bank and the Wish Centre, a Darwen-based domestic violence refuge.

"A small amount was also used to purchase art supplies for upcoming community projects at the Darwen Heritage Centre."

Since the start of the pandemic, Mr Whitehead has been out and about painting at other sites across the North, including a container for Pendle Panthers, and the highest piece of street art in the country at the country's highest pub, the Tan Hill Inn in Richmond.

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Crown Paints’ corporate communications executive, Josie Cawdry added: "Along with the rest of the UK, we are extremely grateful to our keyworkers and especially proud of our NHS.

"It’s been heartening to see so many colourful drawings and messages of support displayed in people’s windows and we thought it would be nice to do something a little more permanent.

"We hope that our mural not only raises a few smiles in the local community but also serves as a lasting tribute to thanks we all owe to our amazing NHS and key workers."

Mr Whitehead created both murals using a range of vivid colours and all paint for both projects was donated by Crown via its Crown Decorating Centre in Blackburn.

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